Hewlett-Packard is considering a future in which storage arrays become a thing of the past, replaced by storage blades -- storage devices using the same form factor and "plug and play" mentality adopted by blade servers.
Jim Wagstaff, vice president and general manager of HP's StorageWorks Division for Asia Pacific and Japan, this week told SearchStorage.com.au that HP "had the discussion internally.
"If you take blades to the nth degree, why have an array dedicated to storage?" he said. "The blades could become the arrays and at that point you question the need for specialized engineering around storage."
Wagstaff feels that customers will appreciate that fact that blade/arrays placing ". . .everything in a single chassis is better for manageability" as well as that "there is a cost advantage for a complete bladed solution."
According to Wagstaff, HP is not yet developing such technologies, but he did predict that "We are going to see products over the next 18 months that have multiple terabytes in one chassis."
He said that such devices will not replace other types of storage arrays, noting, "For connectivity and virtualization purposes, there is a need for dedicated storage outside the chassis." However, he said that HP does "aim to get all of our [storage] form factors onto a blade," expanding beyond the company's current NAS blade and tape blade.
For the foreseeable future, the company is more focused on midsized companies, which it sees as the hotspot in the storage market. To meet those customers' demand for storage, the company last week released its new StorageWorks 2000 Modular Smart Array, an iSCSI and/or Fibre Channel array priced from $5000 and due to on sale in March.