HP lays out roadmap, storage details to follow

The new Hewlett-Packard is a done deal and the company's leaders have a three-year technology roadmap ready to go right out of the gate. Storage products were not detailed although more information is expected later today.

The new Hewlett-Packard Co., is off and running and the company's leadership said the product roadmap it promised to deliver 90 days from now was ready today.

The future of the combined companies' storage offerings wasn't talked about in detail, although a conference being held Wednesday afternoon is expected to give a more specific outline.

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Amid an air of excited relief, the duo of Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Carly Fiorina and President and Chief Operating Officer Michael Capellas held a press conference Tuesday to announce the launch of the newly merged HP and to lay out a high-level blueprint for the company's three-year technology roadmap.

However, it doesn't appear as though there has been any thinning of the product herd yet. HP's new Website lists dual lines of storage area network, network-attached storage, tape, management software, JBODs and other products from the previously separate companies side-by-side, but the redundancy in the product lines will certainly be trimmed in the future.

Fiorina said the industry will consolidate and HP will be consolidating as well. There is a reported $2.5 billion dollars in "synergies" in the overall HP organization. It is not clear how much storage will factor into that overlap.

This much is clear: HP will play up its strengths in high-end line of XP disk arrays and management software and utilize Compaq's StorageWorks products in the SAN and midrange storage markets.

Fiorina said there is a premium on open architectures and industry standard building blocks and that is where HP will focus its research and development dollars.

Michael Capellas said HP will continue to build systems with open architectures and will differentiate itself from the competition with proprietary technology where it benefits the customer.

"You'll see standardization leading to lower cost. We'll continue to go to market with partners that can do things better than we can so we can use our investment dollar to where we can really differentiate ourselves," he said.

Jamie Gruener, senior analyst for the Boston-based Yankee Group Inc., said HP's decisions around its storage product line became clearer as the merger progressed.

"The longer we've observed this the more [sense it makes]," he said.

Gruener added that HP's OpenView storage management offering has been understated and that he hopes the infusion of Compaq's technology will help bring OpenView to the forefront.

Now that they've organized a product line, the next step will be around forming an overall strategy, Gruener said. "It's definitely a work in progress."

HP wasted no time in announcing new storage arrays and software. This morning, the company introduced the HP Surestore Disk Array xp1024, xp128 and HP Command View software for XP. The software allows central, Web-based management and path connectivity diagnostics and OpenView smart plug-ins for XP, integrated with HP OpenView Vantage Point Operations software.

The new HP's storage power is nothing short of titanic. The combined revenue for the company's external storage business tops $4 billion annually, and the company plans on investing that same amount in research and development every year.

HP is expected to further detail its new storage strategy and product line in a press conference Wednesday.

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