In an earlier blog I referred to 'HP's utility storage announcement." Wrong. It was an HP public (IT) utility announcement which included a storage component. The phrasing has been corrected now.

It's regrettable when such mistakes are made and I'm grateful to HP spokesperson Danny Miller for pointing it out.

Here's how HP describes its offering:-

"How it works: Customers plug-in to dedicated cluster environments within HP's existing data centres. HP has built the cluster environments specifically for this new service. Before and after customers use them, the environments are 'scrubbed' to eliminate any kind of security or intellectual property concerns. Also, once HP has assigned a cluster environment to a particular company, only the customer has access in and out of the environment, as a further measure of security."

As I wrote this is a $/hour/resource model and storage is only part of it. These 'HP Flexible Computing Services' are targeted at vertical industries such as oil and gas, manufacturing, financial services, and health sciences. HP alsp offers a 'low-risk, low-cost way to determine whether utility computing is right for their business. This includes start-up and consulting services and a 48-hour pilot project."

There is still the difference to be noted between a utility charging model, which this is, and an IT utility which this, in my opinion, is not, based at least in part on HP and others' definitions of that concept.

For example, "HP is evolving the historical storage utility into a far more capable collaborative storage network called an HP StorageWorks Grid." You can read more on this here.

It will be fascinating to see how storage grids develop as IT utilities develop. The management of such grids is being developed and products such as Storage Essentials v5 from HP are steps on the road to much better storage resource management.

A storage grid or utility will, it seems intuitively obvious, have to be able to serve both block and file storage and provide both in-built data protection with settable policies driving it, and information life cycle management capabilities. The unification of data protection and ILM is a coming technical challenge for storage. There's lots more storage technology to be developed.

When it is and I write about it I hope I don't give cause to Danny to exercise his fingers on a keyboard again.