Well, non that great breaking news: Compellent, Sun and Netapp, just to name three of many, are already building their products on standard hardware and don’t forget about HP’s LeftHand (a company acquired a couple of years ago, they manufacture iSCSI arrays based on HP servers). But this move is the proof that something is changing, heavily, in enterprise storage market.
The advantages of standard hardware are a lot, even if you are HP: all you have to work out is software, since hardware is already developed by other manufacturers. Costs go down, features rise high!
Using standard hardware you can add features, protocols, different kind of ports, and so on, with less work than in proprietary hardware at a lower cost than before! Nowdays, Intel’s and AMD’s CPUs are very powerful, PCI-E can manage huge data throughputs , RAM for caches is very cheap and there is a plenty of choice for front end ports (standard HBAs, NICs, CNAs from primary vendors such as Qlogic or Emulex)! Furthermore, all standard hardware suppliers have a quite huge well tested huge installed base and cheap prices!
It is very likely that all big vendors, after HP, will move soon to standard hardware storage controllers, turning them from hardware into software houses. (IMHO)