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Donatelli says 3PAR will help HP kick storage ass

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Opinion Watch out EMC, HDS, IBM and NetApp, there's a new storage kid in town. Pale, undernourished HP is on a regimen of 3PAR vitamins and steroids and has spoken about its plans to bulk up and kick ass.

HP StorageWorks revealed itself in its new colours this morning in an event at Barcelona to which they flew sundry journalists and bloggers. The dominant message is that 3PAR rules, providing both the HP storage architecture for the next decade and the new head of StorageWorks, ex-CEO of 3PAR, David Scott.

David Donatelli, HP's ESS exec VP, set the scene. He announced that HP is leading in servers, is number one in internal storage, but has just 11 per cent of the external storage market. This is a really disappointing statistic, a measure of dreadful performance, leaving the mid-range and enterprise storage market open to HP's four main competitors: EMC, HDS, IBM and NetApp. These companies have made gains while HP has been trying with EVA and XP, and - let's be blunt here - failing. What else would you call an 11 per cent market share compared to its ranking in servers, networking and internal storage?

The only sure-fire storage hit is the P4000, the LeftHand iSCSI SAN storage, which grew revenues in triple digits last quarter.

Up with this Donatelli will not put. The future is to go where the market is going, and that means storage for private and public clouds and service providers. THe XP/P9500 range has a role as the mainframe attach storage but other than that becomes an installed base system - with development ahead of it for sure, but if HP is right and the future is cloud, then XP and the P9000 at present do not fit.

EVA and XP/P9000

Ditto EVA but without any unique niche; it is purely an installed base play. As it did with the XP, HP will keep faith with that base. Donatelli spoke this morning of new EVA generations coming: note the plural. But ten years from now, if the strategy works, the P8000 - or whatever the 3PAR brand has morphed into - will be the dominant HP storage architecture for the mid-range, enterprise non-mainframe and cloud markets. The P4000 would be providing the small and medium enterprise storage and the X9000 providing file and object storage.

It's likely that there will be some integration of the X9000 Ibrix technology with 3PAR to provide a file and block interface. It is also possible, not that Donatelli will discuss this at all, that an EVA personality could be put onto the 3PAR technology.

In the shorter term, StoreOnce deduplication will be aced to the P4000 for primary data deduplication and then, probably, to 3PAR. We will also see a client-side deduplication capability by the integration of StoreOnce with HP's DataProtector backup product, according to Tom Joyce, StorageWorks Marketing, Strategy and Operations VP, who has been with HP one year since being recruited from EMC.

What we have here is a much more fully-featured storage product line, a more coherent product line than the thin three-layer cake provided by the XP/EVA/P4000 trio of a year ago.

The people inside StorageWorks, if our sense of things is correct, largely acknowledge that HP has under-performed in storage and that the 3PAR-led organisation can bring out the latent strengths and kick storage ass.

The future of the replaced Dave Roberson, until yesterday the SVP and general manager for StorageWorks and inherited by Donatelli, is apparently undecided. He seems to have been recruited by people who knew StorageWorks had to change but before HP as a whole was willing to embrace that change and do things like buy 3PAR. The word is that he is an excellent exec who has many options ahead of him.

For HP to grow its storage business it has to take market share from its competitors. Who is vulnerable?

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