HP Talks Up Channel At Storage User Conference

The conference started on Wednesday evening, a few hours after the HP Americas Partner Conference ended.

Both Ann Livermore, executive vice president of HP's Technology Group, and Bob Schultz, senior vice president and general manager of HP's StorageWorks Division, told audiences they can count on solution providers for help with their HP storage infrastructures.

That recognition in front of end users did not go unnoticed by solution providers. Ken Faircloth, senior account manager at KTI Kanatek Technologies, an Ottawa-based solution provider who saw Livermore at both her partner keynote and her end-user keynote, was impressed with how well she did at both, considering there was little overlap in material between her keynotes.

"We loved how she talked about the channel in front of the users," Faircloth said.

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After the keynotes, Mark Gonzalez, vice president of enterprise storage and server sales for HP, told CRN that about one-fourth of the end users at the event were brought by solution providers. "We helped a lot of the channel partners do these activities through their MDFs [market development funds]. For us, the message is clear: We can't do it without the channel."

Livermore focused much of her end-user presentation on HP's Adaptive Infrastructure initiative, which she called the foundation of the next-generation data center. That data center, she said, is based on modular, standard server, storage and services components tied together with automation and virtualization.

The Adaptive Infrastructure is meant to solve CIOs' three main priorities, including maximizing their return on investment in capital and human resources, mitigating risks with business continuity and security, and increasing infrastructure performance, Livermore said.

"These things we have been working on for years," she said. "But a fourth dimension has taken hold with CIOs--agility."

The "agility" that comes from HP's Adaptive Infrastructure strategy is aimed at solving CIO pain points in four ways, Livermore said. They include business continuity, with tools to build mission critical solutions that can recover from a disaster and making sure a company always has access to its data; control, or knowing where all resources are deployed and if they are working; compliance; and consolidation to reduce the number of data centers.

Livermore concluded by telling the users that they have a choice of building that adaptive infrastructure by themselves, having HP design and implement it, outsourcing it to HP, or working with value-added partners. "We have one of the best and strongest partner networks in the world," she said. "We have 155,000 partners to help you."

Schultz started his keynote with a plug for solution providers, telling users that VARs are important in delivering HP storage. "We're committed to working with our partners," he said.

Afterwards, Schultz told CRN that he wanted end users to know that channel partners, especially those committed to HP, are how the vendor looks to reach customers.

"When I talk to customers, I talk about the strength of our partners," he said. "We try to talk about partners like we do our direct sales team. We try not to show bias one way or another."