HP and Hitachi

If you ever want to get up the nose of an HP bod, a sure-fire way is to tell them that the XP is just an OEM’d HDS array.

Such a slur insult comment is almost guaranteed to make the blood of any true-blue HP employee boil.  Once their pulse has slowed back down and the veins in their necks have returned to normal, you will likely get the a response that includes the following three remarks -

  1. HP has nothing whatsoever to do with HDS
  2. Very specific, over-emphasised and repeated mention of Hitachi Ltd, Japan
  3. Reference to the much vaunted and almost mythical “Engineering Agreement

Points 1 and 2 are fairly basic. It is true that HP does not resell or OEM from HDS (a wholly owned subsidiary of Hitachi Ltd).  At the time of writing, Sun has an agreement with HDS.  HP, on the other hand, have an agreement directly with the source, the mother company – Hitachi Ltd.  In fact it is not uncommon of HP folks to speak very slowly, clearly and occasionally loudly when they stress the JAPAN part ;-)

However, it has always been with point 3, the almost myth like “Engineering Agreement” that I have had issue with. 

In my experience, the HP people spouting this line have never been able to provide any substance to the statement.  “So what does this engineering agreement entail” has always been met with either blank looks, or the  occasional stupid comment suggesting they cant tell me as is involves industry secrets.  Kind of like, I could tell you, but then I’d have to kill you.

Demystifying the Engineering Agreement

Well finally some light has been shed on the topic.  James R. Wilson, XP Disk Array Product Manager has replied to a couple of my Questions over on the HP Storage Blog.

In essence, James explains that while HP obviously doesn’t have full control over product development, they do have regular and active participation that enables them to be influential.  Specifically, James reveals the following -

“Our HP XP storage architects and lead engineers have regular detailed design planning, analysis and reviews with Hitachi engineers onsite in Japan. These meetings take approximately 3-5 days per meeting and are held on a regularly scheduled basis. We also have regularly scheduled management, engineering, and marketing planning and review meetings with respect to future technology with Hitachi. I just returned from one of these held in Japan just last week. These meetings alternate on a regular basis between Japan and our HP XP headquarters in Roseville, CA. These meeting typically take 3 days per event. 

Hitachi has 6-8 engineers on site in Calilfornia to work with HP's engineering teams on a continual basis. HP engineers travel to Japan on a regular basis to work with counterparts there. HP and Hitachi also have weekly and daily conference calls as needed to manage the engineering work as required. HP and Hitachi also cooperate on operating system connectivity testing, sharing the work load between teams. Collectively, the engineering partnership between Hitachi Japan and HP serves very well to provide HP sufficient opportunities to impact the development of the XP family to meet the needs of our customers in a most satisfactory way”

While still not a great insight, interesting nonetheless, and thanks to James and Calvin Zito for answering my questions. 

In fact, ianhf has posted additional questions that might get answered now that the Thanksgiving break is over.  I also recommend Calvins blog in general, as it is slowly becoming a half-decent place of HP storage info and insights – although it is quite generic covering the many aspects of the HP StorageWorks portfolio.


You can follow me on Twitter where I talk about storage and Data Center technologies (@nigelpoulton)

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