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HP Discover Buzz: HP Storage

June 3rd, 2015

The HP Storage Coffee Talk session that we attended was first of all to introduce the new New SVP & GM of HP Storage, Manish Goel, who takes over from David Scott who worked for HP, left to start 3PAR and then brought it into HP.

David has been credited with revitalising HPs storage portfolio with its now flagship product range based mainly on 3PAR based. Manish therefore has big shoes to fill. He started at HP storage in March having being a 7 year NetApp veteran, another storage titan facing difficulties at the moment. He left in 2013 and tried his hand at retirement and a startup which apparently didn’t agree with him and he’s now at HP.

HP has some announcements around the 3PAR storage platform which you are read more about:
A new StoreServ 20850

HP 3PAR Streaming Remote Copy Replication

I asked how with the move away from central SAN storage towards server SAN and hyper-converged how HP Storage manages this transition. HP is in a unique position hardware wise that they sell both servers and SAN but its is separate business units and separate product portfolios (3PAR vs. Lefthand VSA vs. VSAN etc on HP DAS).

Manish said his job remit was not just to look after storage within the traditional HP Storage division which mainly includes external storage systems but driving storage across the whole of HPs portfolio. HP compared to traditional storage vendors has an advantage as they already do compute, converged and hyper-converged. The heads of the HP divisions for Storage, Networking, Servers and Converged Systems are all new in their jobs and Manish says they all have a goal of bringing their offerings closer together and work better across HP internal boundaries which is good news. There was no mention of any sort of common management from 3PAR to VSA to DAS but the individual functionality is being built into OpenView so that must be the only way to go. I asked Manish about good and bad lessons learned at NetApp and he said he liked the idea of a universal operating system across many workloads but that NetApp had gone too far and extended it too much. NetApp were also hampered by only being a storage company and so couldn’t take advantage of any other hardware convergence with compute. He wants to build a portfolio of StoreVirtual for software defined storage and 3PAR for external storage and allow the customer to have choice based on what they need.

The conversation then turned to the reason for having an ASIC which is used in the new 3PAR. HP says it didn’t take this decision lightly but felt they needed an ASIC as Intel CPU advances are just not enough for what they need and they have no control over processor functionality for the exact solutions they need. Having to move from two Intel sockets to four in their arrays would be a massive change, expensive and would increase overall utilisation and decrease efficiency so an ASIC was the most efficient way to go. It takes years to do ASIC development and some of the functionality they’ve built in isn’t available in current software but will be switched on in the future when they need it. I wonder with the time is takes to develop an ASIC how much time was known about flash to optimise the ASIC as best it could be (didn’t get enough time to ask this).

I was impressed with Manish and his knowledge of HP and the industry so soon after joining. He seems to have energy and drive which will be needed to navigate the shift from traditional SAN purchasing to more options. HP has a great opportunity to build on the 3PAR platform but also integrate management with DAS and StoreVirtual to provide a compelling enterprise suite of storage. Something I do see missing is more analytics of what you store. This is becoming a hot topic as every storage vendor can store bits but there is a new breed of storage vendor (ala DataGravity) who take it to another level by providing insights into the data. HP has spent big on its Big Data analytics platform which is used heavily in its software portfolio. It would be interesting to see some of this make it into storage management.  Companies need to know a lot more about their data other than just where it is stored. If HP can manage to work across their own internal divisional silos something interesting could come of it.


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