While solution providers attending Hewlett-Packard's recent Americas Partner Conference and Americas StorageWorks Conference in Las Vegas got hints about upcoming product changes in the vendor's storage line, the stronger message to the channel was solutions.
Ann Livermore, executive vice president of Hewlett-Packard, told channel partners that storage is best when part of a solution. "When you sell a ProLiant [server], along with it, sell storage or support service," she said. "And if you sell services with every ProLiant that you sell or along with every blade system, that creates an annuity stream where you can then keep renewing the services on an ongoing basis."
Ken Faircloth, senior account manager at KTI Kanatek Technologies, an Ottawa-based solution provider, said focusing on the solution would be easier if HP's own people would also do so.
"We get HP reps who talk products, products, products," Faircloth said. "But they have to start talking solutions. If they talk solutions, sales will go through the roof."
Solutions are especially important with blade servers. "You can blade Unix," Livermore said. "You can blade x86—whether it's Windows or Linux. You can blade storage. You can blade PCs. They're all inside of a smart enclosure that has power and cooling and management and virtualization built in."
Kyle Fitze, director of SAN product marketing at HP, said that the company is looking to enhance the storage component of its BladeSystem blade server environment.
For instance, HP plans to give its new c-Class blades the ability to work with the company's Enterprise File Services Clustered Gateway, which allows files stored on SAN arrays to be served in a NAS file format.
Also planned is a storage blade that provides JBOD (non-RAID) storage capacity, Fitze said. "This extends the ability to use BladeSystem servers for applications which need the extra capacity," he said.
For the long term, Fitze said HP also will be looking to virtualize storage within the BladeSystem.
That will be important as the market continues to adopt server virtualization technologies, said Victor Villegas, director of marketing and alliances at Adeara, a Sunnyvale, Calif.-based HP solution provider. "Once the virtualization market takes ahold of the industry, we will do well with blade storage virtualization," he said.
Also anticipated from HP storage are enhancements to local and remote replication technology for its EVA family of arrays to increase replication performance, and tools to simplify EVA deployment, Fitze said. HP also hopes to add SAS to its MSA family of entry-level arrays, Fitze said.