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Extreme makeover: HP storage edition

Donatelli says 3PAR will help HP kick storage ass

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Oracle and NetApp

Oracle's 7000 storage line is categorised by Siamak Navari, 3PAR's storage architect, this way: "Ours [3PAR] is very much a storage platform rather than a modified server platform. 3PAR is the best storage device we could build. The 7000 may be a great database server but is not the best storage platform."

Craig Nunes, now doing StorageWorks marketing, said: " Customers need to consolidate Oracle but also need to run VMware and other apps and really need to do it on one storage platform."

Donatelli jumped in and added this: "Most businesses run multiple apps. They don't want to specialise in niche products ... [because] this perpetuates infrastructure sprawl, which 3PAR is trying to move away from."

What about unified storage, meaning NetApp? (We have heard from a person who should know that there could be a NetApp Sucks T-shirt inside HP.) The answer is in two parts.

Scott said: "3PAR already has a relationship with Ibrix. We supported Ibrix as a front-end gateway  for file access to 3PAR. We now have the opportunity to further integrate the platforms and add common manageability. It will take time. ... HP's intention is to put far more research and development dollars into storage. This will enable a faster route to market for developments."

Donatelli said enterprises mostly separate file and block storage, implying that the unified storage threat was not that strong.

We heard again and again that overlapping storage products was not a bad thing, and that it provided wider market opportunities than were available to vendors with single product architectures.

El Reg thinks that HDS might feel the invigorated HP's storage edge - although it does have a wider set of storage product categories than NetApp or Oracle. Likewise, Dell might find its accounts being visited by HP's in-house and channel sales reps. Dell has no real answer to 3PAR, having tried to buy it and failed. Obviously HP will throw a 3PAR story at every mid-range, enterprise and cloud Dell account it can find.

How about IBM? It has its own ongoing storage invigoration going on with the SONAS, SVC and XIV products. What HP will do is push the message that the DS8000 and other DS architectures are 20 years old and at some stage you have to move to a modern architecture - meaning 3PAR - and stop buying storage systems made to look good as if by putting lipstick on a pig (our phrasing, not HP's actual words).

HP is convinced that 3PAR - with its clustered multi-tenancy, thin storage technologies and autonomic management - is a storage star which will enable HP to claim its rightful place as a storage vendor equal to HDS, IBM, NetApp and Oracle. That's the plan.

Now it's down to the 3PAR team to evangelise itself inside HP, gain the whole-hearted support of its new colleagues, and go forth and multiply sales. Over to you David Scott, prodigal son returned to the HP fold. Can you work the magic and prevent 3PAR technology becoming just another unsuccessful HP attempt to claim the storage high ground? ®

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