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HP prepares new EVA, vows to keep XP *Update*

Hewlett-Packard today said it will launch its next-generation EVA midrange storage system in June, and denied that it will stop selling its Hitachi-manufactured P9500 XP enterprise platform.

For now, HP isn’t giving much detail on the P6000 EVA except to say it will have a 6 Gbps SAS back end, 2.5-inch SAS drives and 8 Gbps Fibre Channel connectivity. The vendor is offering an early access program to customers ahead of the official launch at the HP Discover user show June 6-10.

“We want to let folks know where we stand,” said Craig Nunes, marketing director for HP StorageWorks. “A quarter ago, there was a lot of speculation about when it [the next EVA] is going to come. We’re trying to be as proactive as possible.”

HP is also sending a message that it will continue to develop the EVA line as well as continue the P9500 that comes from an OEM deal with Hitachi Limited.

There has been speculation in the industry that HP would drop either the XP, EVA or both product platforms since it acquired 3PAR for $2.35 billion last year. HP executives have maintained they will keep both the XP and EVA, but posted an item Monday citing unnamed sources saying HP would stop selling the P9500 XP and replace it with high-end 3PAR arrays.

The Storage Newsletter story drew vehement denials from HP, with HP StorageWorks VP of marketing, strategy and operations Tom Joyce telling the newsletter “HP is in no way discontinuing the XP business relationship with Hitachi, Ltd. of Japan. The XP, and its newly named P9500 successor, are very successful mission-critical storage products for HP.”

HP’s storage blogger Calvin Zito added in a blog post Monday, “I saw a story on a small storage news website today claiming that HP would no longer OEM the XP Disk Array from HDS [Hitachi Data Systems].

“The story is wrong. Period.”

Joyce told StorageSoup that the industry speculation has created confusion with HP EVA and XP customers about the vendor’s roadmap.

“When you do something as publicly visible as making the investment HP made in 3PAR, it begs the question, ‘What does this mean to existing products?’” he said. “The thing about a free press is people are free to write what they want. But we’ve been consistent since we bought 3PAR that we would introduce a new EVA in the first half of 2011. We said the P9500 will stay a critical part of our product line. Over a period of time customers will like to have alternatives. Some customers will say ‘I’ll use 3PAR for something I used to use XP for,’ but 3PAR will never replace some of the things XP does well. We will never add mainframe connectivity for 3PAR.”

Joyce said EVA’s selling point is simplicity compared to other FC storage systems. “Folks buy EVA because of ease of use right out of the box,” he said. “It’s simple to use and you can run it with a lot less people.”

UPDATE: According to documents uncovered by SearchStorage ANZ’s Simon Sharwood, HP will deliver a P6300 and P6500 EVA. The P6500 will be a higher end version with faster processors, more cache, greater maximum capacity and so on. But the more interesting parts of the upgrade are the software and management features – mainly the reservationless dedicate-on-write thin provisioning that HP has in its 3PAR and LeftHand platforms. The new EVA will also have dynamic LUN migration, and new remote replication and clustering capabilities.

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