Utopian solutions out, says HP man

The days when CIOs would buy the latest hot box or "utopian" solution are gone, says Hewlett-Packard global network storage head Howard Elias.

The question on IT managers' minds today is, "How can I do more for less?", Elias says.

Sales cycles are lengthening and customers are buying products in smaller increments.

"They're not buying all up front anymore," he says.

CIOs are demanding a more flexible, controllable IT structure and vendors can no longer get away with selling customers' technology and then leaving them to modify it to meet their needs, says Elias, in Sydney last month for the official opening of HP's Sydney enterprise storage centre.

"They're looking for ways to get faster, more measurable, guaranteed and controlled return on investment."

At the official opening of the Sydney centre, one of only three in the world, HP announced several new storage management software packages, to be sold under the OpenView name.

More than 50% of HP's storage research and development is on software, Elias says. "Software is the key, the glue that makes it all work."

Storage virtualisation and provisioning are among the areas addressed by the new software.

Elias emphasised HP's relationship with fellow storage vendors EMC, IBM and Hitachi, with whom it has application programming interface-sharing arrangements.

However, he would not comment on a lawsuit HP filed against EMC in October, alleging intellectual property infingments by EMC's Symmetrix, CLARiiON and TimeFinder products.

"It's a separate piece of litigation and will find its way through the courts. It doesn't affect the API arrangments."

HP's storage business brings in $US6 million annually and HP's own storage needs are growing by 50% annually, about the same as most other entreprises, he says.

He predicts storage area networks will greatly outnumber network-attached storage installations in a few years' time.

- Watson travelled to Sydney courtesy of Hewlett-Packard.