HP revamps RISS, unveils new archiving products

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HP revamps RISS, unveils new archiving products

Jo Maitland, News Director

Hewlett Packard Co. (HP) has revamped its Reference Information Storage System (RISS) archiving appliance, adding the first significant new features to the product since its launch two years ago. In addition, the company has beefed up its backup and archiving software portfolio, stepping up the competition with EMC Corp.

In a recent interview with SearchStorage.com, Bob Schultz, vice president and general manager of HP's storage division, claimed the company had sold hundreds of RISS appliances, [compared with thousands of Centera's sold by EMC], but admitted it's a harder sell than traditional storage arrays. HP believes that the new features in RISS, and its renewed focus on partnering with independent software vendors (ISVs) will drive more sales.

"The strategy is much clearer than it has been in the past," said Brian Babineau, analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group (ESG).

RISS Version 1.5, available June 26, lowers per terabyte cost at up to 75% by offering higher capacity "smart cells" and providing three to five times more compression through block-level single instance storage, HP claims. Smart cells are modules with controllers, storage and software that power search and retrieval for RISS. HP has doubled the capacity of each smart cell to 1.4 terabytes (TB). Previously, RISS supported single instance storage for files only, storing one copy of any file. It would delete

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any duplicates and create a pointer back to the solid copy, saving storage capacity. With Version 1.5, the product now supports block-level single instancing for even greater compression.

"Single instancing is becoming more and more important as large businesses grow to hundreds of terabytes," said Patrick Eitenbichler, director of marketing at HP's storage division. "In the past, they could throw more disk at it, but there's too much data now."

As well as the product improvements, HP has reinvigorated its ISV program around RISS. The appliance now supports OpenText for SAP archiving and Vignette for healthcare users.

"EMC did a very job of cultivating ISV partners for Centera, that's the model everyone is going to follow," said William Hurley, analyst with the Data Mobility Group.

More new products

Other new products in HP's information lifecycle management (ILM) portfolio include Reference Information Manager (RIM) for Databases and RIM for Files. HP already sells RIM for e-mail. RIM for Databases, available May 8, moves infrequently used data to an archive database using technology the company picked up through the acquisition of OuterBay Technologies Inc. HP added new functionality that automatically migrates and converts tables within an operational database into open XML format. This is meant to ensure that the data will still be readable many years from now, even if the database application isn't.

Also on the database front, HP announced Application Recovery Manager (AppRM) for speedy recovery of Microsoft Exchange and SQL application databases in the event of disaster or corruption. AppRM will be available July 6, 2006, starting at $15,800 for a midrange implementation and $29,600 for an enterprise implementation. HP did not break down enterprise vs. midrange vs. small configurations.

Next up, RIM for Files enables continuous capture of files stored on Windows desktops or file servers. "It's a hybrid between archiving and continuous data protection (CDP)," Eitenbichler said. The software captures files as they are saved locally and concurrently writes them to RISS. "Users get an automatic backup, and they can restore any version by themselves," he said. RIM for Files also supports single instancing and will be available in the third quarter, 2006.

Jumping on the CDP bandwagon, the company unveiled HP Continuous Information Capture (CIC) software, which is CDP software HP OEMs from Mendocino Software Inc. This is focused on databases initially and comes combined with an HP Proliant server and storage. It provides any-point-in-time recovery of data. CIC will be available in the second quarter of this year, starting at $31,200.

"Two years from now, will everybody be using CDP instead of traditional backup? We don't believe that," Eitenbichler said. "It needs a significant amount of storage on an ongoing basis, traditional backup is not as storage intensive, but the two will definitely merge," he added.

The last of the new products is HP Storage Virtualization System (SVS200) -- an in-band appliance that virtualizes multivendor arrays for heterogeneous data migration between systems. It is a rebadge of Hitachi Data Systems Inc.'s diskless NSC55, launched this week. SVS200 is reminiscent of HP's failed attempt to launch a similar product called HP Continuous Access Storage Appliance. This product came from its acquisition of StorageApps, but never made it off the ground as EMC sued and won a patent infringement case against the technology.

"StorageApps was before its time," Eitenbichler maintained. "When you're only storing 1 TB of data, it doesn't make any sense … now we have an oil company with 130 HPs SANs, 50 EMCs, three [IBM] Sharks and 500 TBs of direct-attached storage [DAS] … You can put in an SVS200 appliance and virtualize up to 32 petabytes behind it."

The SVS200 will be available June 1 with first customer shipments expected in mid-June. It will be priced competitively with IBM's SAN Volume Controller and EMC's Invista, HP said.

HP also announced Version 6.0 of OpenView Storage Data Protector, which enables full backup creation through pointers, eliminating the need to run regular full backups by consolidating incremental backups. OpenView Storage Data Protector Version 6.0 will be available in the third quarter of 2006. A typical small business configuration starts at $4,598, a typical midsized configuration starts at $108,307, and an enterprise configuration will cost as much as $1,025,766.