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Hewlett-Packard said its StorageWorks EFS Clustered Gateway is ready to go head-to-head with Network Appliance in the high-end servers and NAS space, but some partners don’t believe the hype.

 In April 2007, HP finalized its acquisition of PolyServe, a provider of file system server and storage software, and that technology has now been rolled into HP’s EFS Clustered Gateway. Prior to the acquisition, HP was an OEM of the software and integrated it with its StorageWorks EFS Clustered Gateway.

Michael Callahan, PolyServe’s founder, said that the acquisition has further tightened the integration with HP’s products. Callahan said HP offered PolyServe’s partners better financial support and technical resources than PolyServe had on its own and that VARs should capitalize on those resources to increase their HP storage sales.

Ian Duncan, director of HP’s NAS division, said that the integration of PolyServe is a huge boon to HP’s partners, since the software fits a broad range of HP storage arrays. "Partners can sell the software to augment HP storage hardware array sales," Duncan said.

Callahan and Duncan said that the HP products were a better choice for customers than comparable Network Appliance offerings because they use open standards.

"Our solution is built from industry standard servers and components to bring more scalability to customers that were previously locked into other vendors, such as NetApp," Callahan said.

"NetApp’s approach is an approach that customized hardware for a purpose, because industry standard hardware didn’t deliver the kind of performance back then, in the mid-90s. Now, 15 years later, of course, [industry standard hardware] does deliver that kind of performance."

The StorageWorks EFS Clustered Gateway is comprised of an HP ProLiant Storage Server, Clustered File System software and the HP StorageWorks EVA File Services, all of which are industry standard products, Callahan said. That standardization means VARs can offer the products to clients without necessarily disrupting their legacy infrastructure, and provide more scalability.

But Pat Edwards, vice president of sales at Alliance Technologies, a former PolyServe partner, said while technically his company is an HP partner, his customers preferred NetApp’s solution.

"NetApp’s software functionality is really well-rounded and super simple to use," Edwards said. He said that as NetApp gains market share and its business grows, more customers are noticing and asking for their products. Edwards said that even though the NetApp products are proprietary rather than "industry standard," that his customers don’t seem to mind.

"The rub, for HP, is customers are buying [Network Appliance], they’re sticking with it and they’re loving it because it works!" Edwards said.