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HP StorageWorks Tech Day: Day 1

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What an interesting and extremely busy day the first day of the HP StorageWorks Tech Day 2010 proved to be.  The day was a mixture of vision and product demos, providing both the high level and detailed view of current technology and future plans.

The itinerary for the day has already been published here.  My highlights for the day included:

  • Tom Joyce outlining some of the challenges facing HP in the storage market.
  • Paul Perez describing the storage strategy HP will take in bringing their product set together.
  • Demos of the P4000 & P2000 series of hardware

As you can imagine from these events, there were lots of tough questions and where possible, HP were open about discussing their views.  I say “where possible” as occasionally we touched on subjects where HP couldn’t discuss things further as they would be under NDA.   Here’s my considered view of the day.

  1. HP want to have a greater presence in the storage market.  They have acquired technology to help them to just that; LeftHand and IBRIX are two examples.
  2. The concept of converged storage is well understood; making storage products work with virtualisation will be an important part of the next generation data centre environments.
  3. There is a desire to bring consistency into the product set; to standardise on management tools, features and functionality.

However balancing the “goodness” there is a reality check to be had.

The current storage product ranges do not have the same underlying architecture.  They are all fundamentally different.  Creating a consistent naming standard for the products helps, but in reality in the current portfolio, only EVA is a long term HP technology.  The P2000 series is OEM’ed from Dot Hill, the P4000 series is the acquired LeftHand technology, X9000 is iBRIX and XP is OEM’ed from Hitachi, SVSP is OEM’ed from LSI.  These are all good products, but they operate in different ways, having different concepts and in the case of the OEM products are developed by partners who also have their own agenda on the way their products should be developed.

Bringing together such a disparate product set is bound to have issues.  For instance moving between technologies requires significant pre-planning; can I move data directly between platforms?  how are my operational processes impacted?  How will reporting/chargeback change?  what features do I lose/gain?

I’m not saying HP can’t surmount these difficulties, but the vision is currently a long way from reality and what will be interesting to see is the journey to achieve the final goal.

I’ve posted all my pictures of the event here  As usual, I’ll be working on video and other materials over the coming months, which will get posted alongside continuing information from the previous Blades Day.

Link to Flickr Pictures

About Chris M Evans

Chris M Evans has worked in the technology industry since 1987, starting as a systems programmer on the IBM mainframe platform, while retaining an interest in storage. After working abroad, he co-founded an Internet-based music distribution company during the .com era, returning to consultancy in the new millennium. In 2009 Chris co-founded Langton Blue Ltd (www.langtonblue.com), a boutique consultancy firm focused on delivering business benefit through efficient technology deployments. Chris writes a popular blog at http://blog.architecting.it, attends many conferences and invitation-only events and can be found providing regular industry contributions through Twitter (@chrismevans) and other social media outlets.
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