Polymorphic Simplicity Vision Drives HP Storage Development

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A vision of polymorphic simplicity drives HP storage development, David Scott, Senior VP and General Manager of HP Storage said in a December 4, 2012 interview in the Cube from HP Discover 2012 in Frankfurt, Germany. That vision specifically is of “an architecture that can adapt and provide common data services across block, file, and object, HHD environments, hybrid HHD and state to all-flash environments in the future.”

All the storage vendors are analyzing their storage technologies to see if they can be optimized for the all-flash storage future, he told Wikibon CEO David Vellante and SiliconAngle CEO John Furrier. “We have done exactly the same analysis. It comes down to the day-one decisions that were made in the initial development of the architecture. At 3Par (now owned by HP and the basis of HP’s new generation storage systems) our day-one architectural decision was to have a 16-KB page size.” That, he says, “puts us in a really promising position to service customer needs now and in the future. It gives you the architectural enablement to move to an all-flash environment.”

ASIC then allows HP to do thin provisioning and layer on services like primary data dedup that are going to be required for all-flash storage. For instance, he said, Store Virtual VSA can run as a virtual machine on Dell, IBM, or HP hardware. And it is hypervisor agnostic. It can run in VMware, Hyper-V, and other hypervisors, and cluster those into one storage system. “That makes it a tremendously salable, flexible platform to provide data services.”

On the hardware level, he said, the introduction of the new version of HP StoreVirtual 4000 supporting iSCSI and fiber channel demonstrates that HP customers have “absolute protection” of their investment against obsolescence in a fast-evolving storage environment.

This combination of leading-edge hardware and software with the flexibility to take customers into the future without forklift technology changes is giving HP visible advantage in the market, he says. In the last year, HP has gained 2.6 points of market share in the high-end market, mostly from EMC. In the purpose-built backup market, only two companies have double digit shares, and HP gained 3.3 points of market share in that space with StoreOnce. It now hopes to replicate that success in the mid-range market with its new HP 7000 storage systems which, he said, bring tier 1 storage capabilities down to a midrange price.

HP’s position as a major player in the converged hardware space and experience in industry-standard platforms also provide the storage division with market advantage.

Much of this, he says, comes from doing four things right:

  1. Have the right strategy,
  2. Hire the right people and build the right team,
  3. Communicate the right things so the strategy is consistently driven, and,
  4. Get the right things done.

His management philosophy, he says, is “focus on those four things and hope everything else follows.”

About Bert Latamore

Bert Latamore is a journalist and freelance writer with 30 years of experience in the IT industry including four years at Gartner and five at META Group. He is presently the editor at Wikibon.org, and associate editor at Seybold Publishing. He follows the mobile computing market, including PDAs and tablet computing, and related subjects such as both a user of PDAs and tablet computers for more than 20 years and as a strategic analyst. He was the first person at Gartner to carry a pocket computer, in 1989.