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What Will HP Do Next?

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HP recently announced a new range of 3Par based arrays that are aimed at mid-range enterprise. There now appear to be 2 ranges for the future:

  • HP StoreServ 10000 is the big boy, scales up to 1.6PB, 192 FC ports, 32 10Gb iSCSI - the works.
  • HP StoreServ 7000 is the mid-range one, with only 24 FC and 8 1-Gb iSCSI. This split into the 7200 (2U) and 7400 (4U)

With the entry level 7200 starting at $20k that does not leave a lot of room at the low end for both the P4000 and the P2000 ranges. At the higher end the 7400 starts at $32k, which certainly leaves no space for the venerable EVA.

In an interview with Around the Storage Block HP Storage GM David Scott is quite critical of EMC who have a range of different and fairly unrelated product lines (Atmos, VMAX, VNX/VNXe, Isilion). For now HP is fairly similar: P9000 (Hitachi), P4000 (Lefthand, P2000 (Dot Hill). When you look at where they have priced the 3Par gear, it does appear that they are betting the farm on it.

Something I have been quite vocal about over the last 5 years or so is that fact that HP’s storage portfolio is all over the place. Compared to Netapp, who have a very homogenous portfolio (everything runs OnTAP, you know one Netapp product, you can jump on to the rest), HP have got a one interface for P2000, another for P4000, another for EVA. Nothing sits together. HP needs to get all this in line. EMC have already started with Unisphere, but they still have multiple product architectures (VMAX, VNX, Isilion for example).

I personally think that these other ranges will drop by the wayside, although I am reading a bit between the lines here. Dot Hill do seem to be setting themselves up to be more than just an OEM supplier to HP. Maybe it is wishful thinking as I am a huge fan of Dot Hill, but they have some very interesting products. I hope/expect to see a lot more of Dot Hill themselves over the next few years, rather than just being behind Oracle/Netapp/HP badges.

The P9000 range is a similar story at the other end of the market. The Storserve 10k seems to be very similar, pretty much the same capacity and number of ports. Feature set is also close enough. I also have the impression that Hitachi are starting to push a bit harder in their own right as well.

Essentially I think 3Par will become HP’s own architecture. It has the flexibity to cover everything from a single bay with 12 SATA disks at the low end (perhaps on DL hardware) all the way up to PB+ scales, taking in all-flash on the way.

This leaves the P4000, which has been re-branded the StoreVirtual 4000. This seems to me to be a no-brainer. It is already running on commodity DL180 hardware and includes an appliance option. My guess is the physical implementation of this will be phased out. It will become the Virtual Appliance front-end to all this new 3Par based physical goodness.

Finally, I have skipped over the EVA. What does the future hold in store for HP’s venerable high-end platform. I think nothing. It will go into maintenance mode and be quietly end-of-life’d. Existing customers will be pushed to migrate over to Storeserv 7000.

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