HP has always been an alphabet soup company, assigning just about every item in their bewildering array of products a unique product number. Like Mercedes-Benz cars, even the product names are a mix of letters and numbers that can be off-putting to browsers. Now that they have grown to supersize proportions through internal expansion and acquisition, just about everyone outside the company seems to have trouble decoding the product line, so I decided to take a stab at decoding the enterprise lineup in plain english.
An Important Note
This is not a political activity. I’m not trying to comment on which product is better than which or pigeonhole something by calling it “midrange” when HP thinks it’s “high-end”. I’m trying to be descriptive and helpful to prospective buyers working to understand the multitude of products sold by HP.
I welcome your input. In fact, I demand it! I don’t know which product is which and need your help to improve this list. Please feel free to comment and suggest corrections and additions (wireless?)
Storage Products (“StorageWorks”)
HP’s storage products are divided into three categories:
- P-series is block (SAN) storage using Fibre Channel or iSCSI
- X-series is file (NAS) storage
- Disk backup will presumably get a letter series in the future
|Category||Product Line||Source||Type||In English|
|StorageWorks P9500||Hitachi VSP||OEM||High-end enterprise SAN storage with mainframe support|
|StorageWorks XP2x000||Hitachi USP||OEM||Enterprise SAN storage (formerly called XP)|
|3PAR T-Class||3PAR InServ T-Class||Acquisition||Mid-high enterprise SAN storage|
|3PAR F-Class||3PAR InServ F-Class||Acquisition||Midrange SAN storage|
|StorageWorks EVA 4/6/8400||DEC/Compaq||Acquisition||Midrange SAN storage|
|StorageWorks P4000||LeftHand||Acquisition||Midrange iSCSI storage|
|StorageWorks P2000||Dot Hill||OEM||Mainstream SAN storage, formerly called MSA|
|StorageWorks X9000||Ibrix||Acquisition||Scale-out NAS|
|StorageWorks X5000||PolyServe||Acquisition||Scale-out NAS|
|StorageWorks 4400||PolyServe||Acquisition||Combination of PolyServe X5000 and EVA storage|
|StorageWorks X1000/X3000||Microsoft software||OEM/HP||Midrange NAS using Microsoft Windows Storage Server software and HP hardware (X3000 is a gateway with WSS Enterprise Edition, X1000 includes more HP software)|
|StorageWorks X300/X500||Microsoft software||OEM/HP||Entry-level NAS using ProLiant server hardware and Microsoft Windows Home Server software|
|C-series||Cisco||OEM||Multi-protocol (FC/iSCSI/FCIP) switching|
|B-series||Brocade||OEM||Fibre Channel switching|
|H-series||Qlogic||OEM||Midrange Fibre Channel switching|
|StorageWorks 12000 VLS||Sepaton||OEM||High-end enterprise virtual tape gateway with EVA storage|
|StorageWorks 9000 VLS||Sepaton||OEM||Midrange enterprise virtual tape library|
|StorageWorks D2D4000||StoreOnce||In-House||Midrange deduplication disk backup|
|StorageWorks D2D2000||StoreOnce||In-House||Mainstream deduplication disk backup|
|StorageWorks RDX||ProStor||OEM||Removable disk backup system|
|StorageWorks ESL||Quantum||OEM||High-end tape library, with enhancements and drives from HP|
|StorageWorks EML||Oracle (STK)||OEM||Midrange tape library, significantly enhanced by HP and with HP drives|
|StorageWorks MSL6000||Overland||OEM||Mid-size tape libraries|
|StorageWorks MSL2000/MSL8000||BDT||OEM||Small- to mid-size tape libraries, significant HP design input|
|StorageWorks Autoloader||BDT||OEM||Small tape autoloaders|
Storage Product Notes
HP engineering input into OEMed products ranges from minimal to substantial. The EML tape library, for example, is very different from the standard Oracle (STK) product on which it is based. The high-end Hitachi-based storage includes substantial HP input as well.
HP StorageWorks VP of Marketing Tom Joyce informed me that the 3PAR T- and F-Class boxes won’t be renamed at this point. This is probably a good move – capitalize on the value of the 3PAR name rather than the virtually-unknown “P-series” nomenclature.
Others tell me that the StorageWorks 4400 is hitting end-of-life in the now-ish timeframe. So it won’t get a new name either.
HP’s networking products are divided into three categories:
- A-series is enterprise-class core switching, routing, and 200+ AP wireless
- E-series is mid-market and SMB switching and smaller wireless
- V-series is SMB and SoHo web-managed and unmanaged switching and wireless
|Category||Product Line||Source||Type||In English|
|Switching||A-series Modular||H3C||Acquisition||High-end datacenter switching|
|A6000 blade switch||ProCurve||In-House||Blade server switching|
|A-series Fixed||H3C||Acquisition||Fixed-port switching|
|E-series (except below)||ProCurve||In-House||SMB/midmarket networking|
|H3C||Acquired||Stackable and edge networking|
|ProCurve A7000||ProCurve||In-House||SMB routing|
Networking Product Notes
HP’s 3Com acquisition focused primarily on the H3C (former Huawei/3Com joint venture) high-end switching and routing products. Although some 3Com gear remains in the E-series line (particularly stackable switches), the low-end fixed-port switches have seemingly been eliminated from the product line. The Colubris acquisition provided HP with scalable wireless products now slotted below the H3C gear.
Product lines are always confusing at large companies, and doubly so where acquisitions bring in legacy products and customers. I wish HP the best of luck sorting all this out!
Note: The photo at the top is of a Japanese clone of the Enigma Machine from World War II.