While my colleagues from theCube were in Frankfurt, Germany a couple of weeks analyzing the latest HP announcements, I was in the cold, white north of northern Canada and am now reviewing the recorded materials that were produced during that event. And, I really like what I’m hearing and am very pleased to see the direction that HP seems to be going on a number of levels. My hope now is that they can execute and do it well.
I’m most excited by the discussion that theCube had with Sean Kinney, Director of Marketing in HP’s Storage Division.
Sean Kinney Says Reducing IT Complexity a Top Customer Concern
Kinney returns to theCube, this time live at HP Discover 2012 in Frankfurt, Germany. He and hosts David Vellante and John Furrier discuss how HP is helping reduce complexity for customers.
Watch the full video here
HP seems to be hearing the call of thousands of CIOs crying out in frustration at the increasing complexity of the technology environment, from the sales and design process to the ongoing administration and engineering associated with many solutions. In response, the company has started to make moves to simplify the acquisition process and, over time, seems committed to making the entire stack easier to manage.
Welcome, HP 3PAR StoreServ 7000
First, at HP Discover, the company announced the 3PAR StoreServ 7000, a product that includes the complete enterprise feature set of its larger brethren, but at a price that can support the midmarket—the 7000 starts just below $40,000. From a procurement simplicity perspective, this means that HP can support customers from the midmarket up to the enterprise and cater to all manners of performance needs, whether those call for all HDD, all SSD, or a combination/hybrid deployment. An all-SSD-based 3PAR StoreServ 7000 supports up to 240 SSDs and provides a whopping 320,000 IOPS.
With this release, HP is also officially beginning to encourage EVA customers to migrate to 3PAR, but Kinney was very clear that support for EVA is not at risk and that the product is not being end-of-lifed.
HP indicates that this release brings true enterprise-grade gear to the midmarket at a midmarket price and provides both block- and file-based storage.
Benefits for CIOs
If HP truly executes well on this play, the potential benefits for CIOs could be significant:
- Efficiency increases: HP provides a financially backed guarantee that customers can reduce their capacity requirements by 50% by moving to HP 3PAR storage. The guarantee basically indicates that, if the 50% mark is not met, HP will provide enough additional hardware to make up the difference at no cost.
- Efficiency gains: With 3PAR, HP aims to simplify storage management through automation. To that end, HP’s 3PAR StoreServ systems are self-configuring, self-managing, and self-healing devices… without the need for human intervention. That’s a good goal in my book.
- Cost: With a price tag starting under $40,000, the 3PAR 7000 is within a price range that is achievable for many large SMBs and midmarket players. That said, the $40,000 price tag is just a starting point; as you add features and more SSDs, that price will go up.
Is this a disruptive play?
Certainly the big players in the market – EMC, NetApp, Dell – will be concerned about this new release as well as HP’s renewed focus on simplicity and efficiency, a goal shared by many CIOs. Although many of the big players have solutions that can compete, 3PAR has been considered a jewel in the space and is certainly worthy of a look.
For smaller start-ups, I foresee a new challenge as a storage behemoth – HP – begins to “play” in their space. Many of these start-ups are working toward the 3PAR goal. With the resources of HP behind 3PAR, there will be some customers that go the HP route simply because of the company’s stability. That said, I still see plenty of room in the market for the start-ups... and I hope that they aren’t too negatively impacted by this turn. We’re seeing some interesting things from many of these players and the competition is good for the industry.
Action Item: CIOs considering storage should give HP a look; the company seems to be executing well on their 3PAR acquisition. Although HP has had a rough time of it recently in many ways, the company is far from shutting down and has formidable engineering talent. HP seems to understand the growing need to develop enterprise solutions that can be brought down market as well, which is a trend I’d like to see from all players. Finally, if time proves HP’s claims of reduced complexity and an improved administrative experience, CIOs should give the 7000 a good look.