HP Techday 2009: The Final Thoughts!
This is my 5th consecutive post on HP TechDay in Colorado Springs.
HP facilities in Colorado Springs, a Satellite view
This event was a very smart move by HP and as far as I can see they have exceeded their expectations with this event. It was truly a fireworks of hash tag #hptechday both Monday and Tuesday which dominated twitter. The after discussions have taken over the blogging, twitter and the Internet press by surprise with the number of twits, blogs and press articles written about this event.
Clearly for me this was a good platform to learn, understand and share some visions and technologies related to HP Storage products. An Event like this helps understand and connect the dots together with future products and emerging technologies.
The R&D and Engineering teams gave us a good background of the inter-workings of the storage technology not necessarily the intra-workings of all technologies messed together. There were some awkward moments, but overall they pulled it together really well. The marketing folks spoke about some strategy related to these technologies and painted an overall picture. The mix of people involved with the presentations and demos seem to accomplish the agenda, where marketing pitches came in with engineering details.
HP really left competition out of all the discussions except for the hands-on lab. No mentions of EMC, NetApp, IBM, Cisco or HDS. The hands-on lab did have an exercise on NetApp FAS2050C and an EMC Clariion CX4-120 for LUN provisioning purposes in comparison to LUN provisioning on HP EVA’s. It was a positive strategy from HP, not to compare their products to that of EMC, NetApp and others.
A lot of discussions revolved around Virtualization related to VMware, Xen and Hyper-V, but HP made it clear they were VMware’s largest revenue producing partner and would like to remain so.
Platforms like EVA, SVSP, Lefthand, IBRIX and D2D were discussed. Independently every platform looks very interesting and very compelling. But an integration vision was still lacking, a direction or a strategy on how these pieces of puzzle will be joined together to form the common storage platform. Though HP clearly seems to be making a move towards Converged Data Centers.
HP clearly has a very big competition in the storage market with already proven Vendors and their technologies. EMC, NetApp, IBM, Cisco, VMware in storage, networking and Converged Data Centers. Also technologies that are strong and emerging would largely cause market nuisance or focus disruption for HP.
One of the biggest problems I saw was, HP has these segments of storage and technology, rather not a unified vision, or didn’t come across as one. There are pouches of storage like EVA teams, SVSP teams, Lefthand teams and so forth, not sure if there is technology sharing and again a moved towards integrating all these technologies to form a unified storage platform. Though Proliant is the chosen platform for all Lefthand and Converged Data Center products.
HP still needs a very strong storage technology in the Enterprise space that is there own and not OEM’d. The truth is, eventually the HP – Hitachi relationship has to come to an end with HP’s new product that may compete in the same market space. This strategy will enable HP to be very unique in terms of the markets they serve, which may include their own inhouse storage products for SMB, Midsize and Enterprise customers.
So other lacking things from HP were the Cloud Strategy (if they ever plan to enter that space), Unified Storage details, FCoE discussions, Procurve, Deduplication platform discussions, IBRIX technology integration details, Storage Management, Storage Optimization and XP.
It may have been very hard to cover all these platforms in a day and a half with giving all the technology details behind it. Also remember this was an NON NDA session, so we were not preview to all the future products and technologies.
Overall HP did hammer us for 2 consecutive days with HP Storage Technology. Coming out of it, I can truly say I didn’t realize HP had so much focus on Storage. Their move to hire Dave Donatelli was a smart one and hope over the next year as the Storage business moves under him; he will insert some new strategic direction.
So HP was the first OEM to arrange the HP Techday and make it open to Bloggers as an Invite Only Event. The ratio of Bloggers to HP Personnel was 1:2, giving everyone a lot of attention.
Now the question is who will be next OEM to do a similar event and what will they do to prove themselves different. Already hearing some buzz in the industry about some the effects of HP Techday and some possible events from other OEMs.
But I clearly see an advantage of an event like this and the after effects of it, Good move HP Storage – Marketing Team!