HP announces 3-year storage roadmap

Hewlett-Packard told partners and customers that it would continue to support the full range of Compaq and HP storage products for the immediate future at its annual ENSA [Enterprise Networked Storage Architecture] conference in Queensland last month. However, the number of partners dealing direct with the vendor could be cut.

Neal Clapper, vice president of online storage and network storage solutions for HP, said no customers would be left with unsupported machines or infrastructure, although in the long-term HP is looking at keeping only the strongest elements of the two brands.

"Clearly, we will not end of line a product until we have a product that is equal or better," said Clapper. Over the next three years, the combined HP/Compaq entity will make significant changes both to its product set and throughout its partner network.

On the software front, HP will take the best features of both brand's intellectual property (Compaq's SANWorks portfolio and HP's OpenView range) and build it into a new version which will go to market under the OpenView name.

In tape, HP will continue to support both LTO and SuperDLT while in the disk arena it plans to move to an EVA (Enterprise Virtual Array) design, replacing Compaq's EMA and HP's old VA (Virtual Array) mid-range products. The EVA range will appear over the next 18-months according to Andrew Manners, director of HP's network storage solutions in Australia and formerly of Compaq.

Manners said some consolidation may also be necessary amongst top-tier partners who enjoy a direct relationship with HP. Compaq added 11 direct partners to HP's existing six, bringing the grand total to 16 on account of Volante being aligned with both vendors.

Manners said the process of who stays and who goes will be decided on capability and competency in high-end storage.

"We will work that decision from the customer back," he said. "We will ask customers what they want from their storage suppliers and then put that program out to the partners".

November 1 is the roll-over date for the new channel model, however, Manners asserts that HP is not out to cull numbers. If all 16 direct partners put their hand up to partake in the refreshed focus then all will be retained, he says.

Meanwhile, in distribution, Digiland will drive the low-end and entry level products, Lynx, in NSW, will focus on the high-end and Tech Pacific, Ingram Micro and Express Data will be engaged from a wholesaling perspective.

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