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Introducing the HP XP7 Storage - 7th generation of the XP Disk Array



Today I want to introduce you to the latest generation of the XP Disk Array, the XP7.  I want to tell you a bit of a personal story about my experience with the XP.  Back in 1997, I decided to leave HP Storage to take a job with another division of HP in Colorado Springs.  My wife asked me if I could get a job in Colorado Springs because her Mom lived there and within about two weeks, I had landed a job that was a promotion and broadened my experience in marketing so we moved to C Springs. 

But after 18 months (and experiencing the worst blizzard I've ever seen despite growing up near Buffalo, NY), we decided we missed Boise and wanted to go back.  By the way, my mother-in-law moved to Boise a few years after that. 

There was a marketing programs job in storage and I jumped at the chance to come back to Boise and storage.  My first day back, I was taken into a room and given an HP Private briefing that we were working with Hitachi Ltd to introduce a new high-end array.  That was the beginning of one the most intense five months in my career; my wife was pregnant with our son and we were building a house.  Despite the pressure, it was one of the most exciting times in my career!   We announced the XP256 Disk Array on May 5, 1999. 

Fast-forward to today and while I'm no longer part of the XP team, I get to tell you about the new XP7.  It's our seventh generation of the XP.  HP has had a joint technology relationship and OEM agreement with Hitachi Ltd in Japan throughout.  

One of my big pet peeves in when people say that we rebadge an HDS array.  That couldn't be further from the truth and I dare say that HP has made far more contributions to the XP platform over the years because of the technology agreement with Hitachi Ltd. 

So without any more of my reminiscing, let me share with you my ChalkTalk that introduces you to the XP7. 

 A couple of months ago, there was a discussion on LinkedIn and I had a customer tell me that they still had an XP256 running in their data center and it had never had one second of downtime.  While it's not typical for a customer to keep an array for 10+ years, it's not unusual for an XP to not have downtime. 

Speaking of Always On, later today I'll post a follow-up blog with another ChalkTalk discussing the Always On Disaster Recovery with Online Data Migration - it's pretty cool technology that sets the XP7 apart as a tier-1 mission critical array for traditional data centers. 

EDITOR'S NOTE: This post was updated after the HP separation to point to the updated HPE XP7 ChalkTalk and the new URL. You can find all of our ChalkTalks on YouTube. Find all XP7 related blog posts on ATSB here

You can learn more about the new XP7 on this link (updated to  

About the Author


I have worked at HP and now HPE since 1983, all of it around storage but 100% focused on storage since 1990. I blog, create videos, and podcasts to help you better understand HPE Storage.


I'd be curious to see some sort of details around what you get if you buy HP XP7 vs what you get when you go straight to HDS. I'd expect much of the contributions HP has provided to be merged upstream with HDS. Some of the folks I know that use HP XP seem to be using HP equipment elsewhere in their faciltiies.  Would it make sense for say a IBM/Dell customer that wanted a VSP to buy from HP to get XP7 or go with HDS direct, what is the difference? I'm sure there are some management hooks that HP has integrated with the rest of the HP management platform(s) that HDS probably doesn't tie into directly, but aside from integration into other HP products is there an advantage to going to one vs the other?


I do find it interesting(and amusing) the tight rope HP is walking trying to distinguish between XP and 3PAR (e.g. HDS bills the platform as being able to do a much wider selection of workloads and HP touts it as fairly limited to ultra high end legacy applications).



Hey Nate - there are a couple of reason why I think a non-HP server customer should get the XP7 from HP.  I briefly mentioned some of them at the end of the ChalkTalk (though some of those are HP Server integration) but the list includes:

  • Performance Advisor - does what the name implies
  • The HP Server integration around HP Metro Cluster, Continental Clusters, Cluster Extension, HP  Nonstop and OpenVMS Clusters
  • The high quality of HP firmware - HP has capabilities to do max configuration testing that no one else has including in multi-vendor environments.  In fact, I remember talking to the engineering team when we announced the XP P9500 and they told me that we did some of the early testing in our labs for Hitachi because we had a better max config capability.
  • There's also end to end solution compatibility testing that we do.  Having been around our testing processes at HP since the early 90's, I'm convinced that no one in the industry does it better than we do.
  • As an example we have ecosystem integration for ServiceGuard clusters for HP-UX & Linux, Veritas Cluster Server on Solaris (is it still called Veritas Cluster Server?), HACMP on AIX, Microsoft Cluster Service on Windows, Cluster Extention for VMware and Windows. 

The other big area is the vision HP has for the future of IT.  You've seen that discussed when you joined us at Nth Symposium - add that to the capabilities we have around servers, networking, software, HP Autonomy - I don't think HDS can begin to provide what HP does across the board. 


Lastly, to your comment about HP positioning XP7 and HP 3PAR vs HDS billing the platform as the do it all with this answer.  You know that 3PAR starts as a $25K midrange solution and scales up to the 3.2 PB 10000 Series.  I don't know what HDS' starting price point is but it's probably not so different from our XP7 starting price which I saw as four hundred and something thousand dollars.  So what do you think works better for customers - having one platform that starts at that price or having the technology we have with HP 3PAR that can start at $25K.


I like what we have a lot more.  Sure, there might be a bit of overlap between the XP7 and HP 3PAR but we have a solution optimized for the New Style of IT with 3PAR and traditional data centers with XP7.  Customers win with choice, not by being told "we have a hammer, every problem looks like a nail". 


I'll take our position of having a little overlap and doing the work to be sure our field and channel partners know when to lead with HP 3PAR or XP7 over the single option HDS has.

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