HP is set to announce a variety of enhancements to its storage arrays and software .

The company said that its StorageWorks XP Disk Arrays would be enhanced to allow the attachment of HP Enterprise Virtual Arrays (EVA) 4000, 6000, and 8000 mid-range systems and will ship with double the cache memory.

The mid-range EVA arrays will now include iSCSI connectivity via an add-on ProLiant server running Windows Storage Server 2003. They will also be upgraded to 4GB Fibre Channel host-side connectivity and use 400GB and 500GB low-cost Fibre ATA drives so customers can tier their storage within the same array.

The company's WAN Accelerator will be enhanced to support encrypted communications between accelerators located in branch offices and data centres. Protocol acceleration for Microsoft SQL Server and high-speed TCP optimisation for high bandwidth, high latency long fat networks and a proxy file service for disconnected access to specific files will be added to improve performance over the WAN.

HP's Storage Essentials management software can now manage Tru64 and OpenVMS hosts, HP and Sun network-attached storage, the HP-UX implementation of Veritas Volume Manager and IBM DS 6000 and 8000 provisioning.

The HP StorageWorks Virtual Library System's capacity will be increased to 70TB from 40TB with use of 500GB drives. One Button Disaster Recovery for ProLiant servers will be included in HP's StorageWorks Data Protector Express server backup software.

Finally, support services for implementing storage consolidation and HP's Utility Ready Storage will be added to HP's portfolio of storage offerings.

"Storage consolidation in a homogenous or heterogeneous mixed vendor environment has traditionally been leveraged as a cost savings or cost-avoidance tool," says Greg Schulz, senior analyst at Storage IO. "Consolidation can also be used to improve the service delivery experience including performance, effective and timely resource allocation [provisionment] and, of course, data protection."