How HP is Redefining Storage: Looking to Past Innovations

John Furrier and Dave Vellante interview Jim Ganthier at HP Discover 2012 in Frankfurt, Germany closing out the second half of HP Discover 2012, which began in Las Vegas several weeks ago (full video below).  Jim Ganthier dives right in to the conversation when Vellante points out that many people are very bullish about HP, but the company has proven they have a clear vision, they’ve made promises they they’ve started to keep, and there is a wide variety of good stuff going on.

Furrier, who has been very critical of HP over the years also is impressed with where they’re going, that the people of the company, the customers are active, and no longer does it feel like the ship is sinking.  HP no longer is hyping them up, instead introducing products and innovation.

Big data and software-led infrastructure were the two big themes of HP Discovery and Furrier asks Ganthier about the triple HP threat: software defined networking, software defined storage, and software defined servers.  Project Moonshine where HP said they were going to forever redefine how servers are looked at by looking at it from a polymorphic angle, showing users how they, in the very near future, will be able to have thousands of servers in a single rack.  In terms of redefining storage, Ganthier notes that HP is taking the infrastructure and innovation of previous server projects and lowering the price point by streamlining the multiple architectures into one, and doing so in a converged format making it easier all around.

Talking about big data, HP had to get around the problem of flexibility while only have only one system of architecture by creating common module architectures.  Instead of that single architecture system holding back the ability of big data though HP has transformed the industry by creating the ability to use converge infrastructure along with that single architecture system to hold more than 2 petabytes of data in a single server.

The sales model also has had to change; Ganthier says from a leverage perspective the customer problems are the same.  Customers need to lower expenses—they have to do more with less, lower power and cooling bill, making admins more effective—all within budget constraints while also trying to drive differentiation to business.  These sales are more than just the physical product, but also the logistics, the customers service, and continuing support, and being able to tailor the model to the services that the customer requires.  Right now, the biggest problem that HP has is being able to keep up with demand for their products.

Vellante asks about how the ODM’s are fitting in, and Ganthier has a very diplomatic response—don’t lump them all together in one group.  He says that there are ODM’s that HP does work with who have decided they’d like to get into this space, but asks if they can really keep up with the innovation that companies like HP are able to provide.  HP is 170 countries, and most ODM’s can’t compete with the customer service and the wide range of needs and requirements that companies globally require.

Furrier asks Ganthier to compare HP to Dell, one of HP’s rivals.  HP is number one in every market they’re in, and HP has a three to four year head start on the converge infrastructure and Dell is playing a game of catch up that they are destined to lose.  HP is now moving onto the cloud, and while they are still working with converge infrastructure, now they’re moving that to the cloud pushing the technology further and farther ahead.  Then adding to that the software and enterprise that customers want.  Making a big prediction, Ganthier says that software defined data centers will be a new buzzword that everyone will be talking about, and HP is going to lead that as well, with Furrier calling it lightening in a bottle.

We’re now in a transformative game changer in the words of Furrier, who asks what the biggest transformer is going to be.  Ganthier gives three definitive answers: changes in how the data center pool will be treated as one by partnering the server, the power and the networking together and putting in enough intelligence and information to pool and release data as needed into that pool; Moonshot, “being able to have cartridges defined for particular workloads and we’re going to be able to do it at densities and power level,” that nobody else is going to be able to touch; and lastly looking at additional software products and wrapping it with the industry’s best service products.