Breaking Analysis: HP Extends 3PAR with Revamp, Justifies Old Acquisitions

The world of big data has spent the past two years in a frenzied shopping spree, with companies like HP snapping up 3PAR in an early effort to lay the foundation for tomorrow’s storage, analytics and networking needs.  And as 2012 comes to a close, major vendors like HP are through exploring the depths of big data, ready to make use of all those acquisitions.  Now is the time seemingly disparate technologies, startups and systems come together to form the converged infrastructure, defining a point of singularity for the architecture demands of real-time analytics for the enterprise.

Today HP has made a number of storage announcements that coincide with the HP Discover conference in Frankfurt, Germany this week. Wikibon Chief Analyst Dave Vellante reviewed these in detail.

Rationalizing 3PAR and other acquisitions

The first announcement was related to 3PAR, which was an acquisition HP made a couple years ago.  3PAR competes in the high-end of the storage market place, and what HP has done is brought 3PAR down to the mid-market level by introducing two new products, the 7200 and the 7400, priced at $25,000 and $40,000 respectively.  Vellante believes this will really propel this particular area for HP.

The second announcement is around IBRIX, another HP acquisition from 2009.  IBRIX is now called StoreAll, which is a file and object based system, essentially a unified system for those classes of storage.

Vellante said, “The interesting thing about StoreAll is and HP’s marketing is that they’re talking about bringing real-time to big data.  There’s a metadata indexing capability of StoreAll that we think has a lot of potential here . . . that ability to sort through and sift through metadata.”

The third announcement is a deduplication announcement called StoreOnce, another product that has been in the market, but is now targeted to the low-end market of mid-size and small businesses. This is designed to compete with Data Domain.

Another announcement is StoreVirtual, which Vellante described as EVA (Enterprise Virtual Array – an HP legacy product) meets Lefthand.  Yet another HP acquisition, Lefthand is a leading provider of storage virtualization and iSCSI SAN (storage area network) solutions.

The final announcement was about two new HP programs, the first one being a vm density program that guarantees the user can double their VM density or the number of VMs that can be run on 3PAR.  The second program, called Get Protected, guarantees you can restore backed up data at 80% of the ingest rate.  Vellante explained, “What you’re seeing here is HP rationalizing and extending its storage portfolio.”

3PAR is just the tip of the spear

Vellante discussed HP’s storage strategy, stating that a major part of this is HP trying to extend 3PAR.  His view is that their strategy is built around 3PAR as the tip of the spear. The storage system vendors are starting to realize they have to extract their software and run it on commodity components.

The other big trend is convergence – bringing servers, storage and networking together. Bringing that infrastructure together to support cloud, multi hypervisor, and multi workloads in a multi-tenant environment is what Vellante refers to as “software-led emphasis.”

The big picture, according to Vellante, is vendors focusing on trying to put value through software on top of commodity hardware. He discussed HP’s position in the market today, observing that they are growing at about the rate of the storage industry.  He also noted that the key factors for HP are to rationalize their portfolio, focus on extending 3PAR into both the mid-market base and service provider market, and extract software and go end-to-end (by using the same technology throughout its portfolio) in its competitive approach.  So far, Vellante said, this is working well for them.  See the entire segment with Kristin Feledy and Dave Vellante on the Morning NewsDesk Show.