When Hewlett-Packard (HP) acquired Compaq in May 2002, it catapulted itself into second place in the storage disk systems market. Mostly that was thanks to Compaq’s strong storage story, which in turn had its roots in Compaq’s takeover of Digital Equipment four years earlier.
According to researcher group Gartner, Compaq generated disk array sales of $1.7 billion in 2001 – almost double
those of HP. And the combination now gives HP a 20% share of the storage array market, putting it within reach of market leader EMC’s 25%, but well ahead of IBM’s 13% and Hitachi Data Systems’ 12% share.
While the merger giving HP command over a substantially broader storage hardware and software portfolio, it is ease to see why some analysts believe HP has opted for a Compaq-centric storage strategy. For one, Compaq’s StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA), a high-end modular mid-range storage system, has been chosen as HP’s flagship array architecture. As EVA grows to fulfil most customer requirements, HP will scrap its own midrange storage systems SureStore Virtual Array as well as Compaq’s older Enterprise Modular Array lines, probably sometime in 2003.
However, for high-end storage, HP says it will continue resell Hitachi Data Systems Lightning 9900 arrays under the HP XP brand, a two-year-old arrangement that has proved highly successful for both companies.
HP’s storage software strategy is much more homegrown. The OpenView Storage Area Manager (SAM) suite, a sub-set of its popular OpenView network and systems management software, will spearhead the company’s storage networking charge, although the product will absorb certain elements of Compaq’s SANworks storage management line.
But HP has to move fast to bring such unified products to market, says analyst Anders Lofgren at Giga Information Group, if it is not to hand rivals a sizeable advantage. “Hardware will still make up the lion’s share of revenues, but HP’s storage success will ultimately be decided by its ability to provide a complete storage management software suite,” he concludes.