#HPTechDay: HP really 'gets' storage!

The early part of this week saw me attend a specialised Tech Day at HP Colorado Springs that revolved around Data Centre Convergence with an emphasis on HP Storage.

I have to say that the event was a rip roaring success and I would highly recommend other vendors do the likewise.  Aside from the excellent people pulling it all together in the background, the event comprised several very influential bloggers, absolutely top notch HP technical and product management staff....... oh and me there to make up the numbers ;-)

The workshops and discussions will no doubt spawn several blog posts in the near future, including exclusive video footage of a tour round the HP EVA test lab in Colorado Springs (the lab where firmware and software testing takes place) and it is pretty impressive – watch this space!

HP don’t ‘get’ storage

Prior to the event I admit that I felt the HP storage portfolio was bloated and somewhat chaotic – and this despite the fact that I am well versed in two of their more established products - EVA and XP.  I also had a personal opinion, which I know is shared by others, that the StorageWorks group at HP were the poor relation in a large and otherwise wealthy family.  My opinion was that HP didn’t really ‘get’ storage - at least not like EMC or HDS ‘get’ storage.

Actually HP do ‘get’ storage

If I had to choose one thing that I took away from the event, it would be that HP actually do get storage.  They have some seriously good products and some top notch people behind it all.  It was actually a pleasure playing with the kit (really slick interfaces...) and having access to such open, honest and technically gifted people.  I can’t stress enough the open and honest way in which everybody came across.  John Obeto mentioned to me what a breath of fresh air it was compared to the usual marketing folk that are put in front of crowds like us – couldn’t agree more.

So if the last two days are anything to go by, and I think they are, HP storage is in very good hands.  Oh and of course this is all without a certain Mr Dave Donatelli.  So when Dave is finally allowed to get involved with storage at HP – I think things will only get better!
Of course whether HP can convince the market and gear up their sales force to make it happen, only time will tell.  However, if you place any value on my opinion, you could do a lot worse than check out some of the HP storage offerings.  And that’s an honest opinion, not just because I had a good time.  I have no issues in pulling HP up if I feel its needed – read on to find one example……..

In future posts I will dig deeper into some of the technical aspects, but for now, the products that I was most impressed with and interested in were –

  • HP LeftHand
  • HP EVA

HP do a ton more than those 3 products listed above, and I still think they may have have too many, but for me those listed above are the highlights.

The Lost Symbol

One notable absentee, and therefore an area that remains somewhat a mystery, was Networking.  Nobody present from the networking group, no labs and not technical discussion – except for that which we brought up from the floor. 

Obviously we had limited time there and couldn’t possibly cover everything HP do, but with so many slides and presentations on “Data Centre Convergence”, it was a shame that networking wasn’t covered.  After all, there can be no doubt that changes in the network infrastructure are absolutely key to Data Centre Convergence.  May be one for a future similar event?

On the topic of the openness and honesty of the whole event, the one area where I wondered if I was fobbed off was around the HP ProCurve product range and whether it had support for lossless 10Gbps CEE (802.3Qbb etc.....).  The answer I got was “I should know the answer to that but I don’t, sorry”, which to me was as good as “No”.  However, I may be doing the guy a disservice – after all he was a ProLiant guy and very very good at that but his forte was not ProCurve. 

BTW: I was pretty sure the answer to my question is “No” before I asked but thought I would try and generate some discussion around the topic.

In a nutshell – mostly good, some very interesting products and a unique glimpse into the beating heart of the HP StorageWorks division.

Watch this space for technical dives into some of the technologies as well as the video tour of the EVA test lab once Ive edited it and uploaded to the web.


You can follow me on Twitter – http://www.twitter.com/nigel poulton @nigelpoulton.  I only ever talk about storage and related technologies.

I am also available as a consultant and can be reached at nigelATrupturedmonkeyDOTcom

PS  The technical guys who were invited to and attended the event were (in alphabetical order) –

Rich Brambley  (@rbrambley) http://vmetc.com
Stephen Foskett (@sfoskett)  http://blog.fosketts.net
Robin Harris  (@StorageMojo) http://storagemojo.com
Greg Knieriemen (@Knieriemen)  http://www.storagemonkeys.com
Ray Lucchesi (@RayLucchesi) http://silvertonconsulting.com/blog/ 
John Obeto (@JohnObeto) http://absolutevista.com
Frank Owen (@fowen)  http://techvirtuoso.com
Devang Panchigar  (@StorageNerve)  http://storagenerve.com
Simon Seagrave (@kiwi_Si) http://www.techhead.co.uk
Me (@nigelpoulton)  http://blogs.rupturedmonkey.com

They are all worth checking and following on Twitter if you do the Twitter thing.....