HP Plans EMC World Visit, Will Attempt To Lure EMC Customers

Hewlett-Packard next week plans to make an uninvited visit to EMC World, bringing incentives it hopes will convince customers of its storage archrival to consider switching to HP. Its arsenal will include a new utility it claims provides simple online migration of data from EMC's VNX or CLARiiON arrays to HP 3PAR systems.

HP on Thursday unveiled HP 3PAR Online Import, a new software tool the company said can migrate customers from EMC VNX or EMC CLARiiON CX4 arrays to the HP 3PAR 7000 series, 3PAR 10000 series or the all-flash 3PAR 7450 arrays.

HP also promised to be all over EMC World, offering EMC customers such services as complementary rides from the airport, coffee, show tickets and even comped Grand Canyon tours, said Craig Nunes, vice president of worldwide marketing and alliances for HP storage.

[Related: HP In Massive Storage Hiring Spree Despite Planned Workforce Cuts Of 34,000]

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The migration of data from EMC to HP 3PAR storage with HP 3PAR Online Import is actually much easier than migrating from an EMC VNX to a VNX2 array, Nunes said.

"Migrating data from a VNX with 10 servers to VNX2 requires 55 percent to 82 percent more steps than moving that data to 3PAR," he said. "And it's cost-effective. The migrations are done without a separate hardware appliance, and often don't require professional services. There's no impact on the server. And in many cases, we guarantee customers use only half their previous capacity when they move to 3PAR."

EMC disputed HP's claims that migrating to its VNX2 storage arrays is complicated.

Jonathan Siegal, EMC's senior director of VNX product marketing, told CRN via email that his company has made it a high priority to enhance its customers' migration experience with VNX2.

"In fact, for the first time, with VNX2, we now offer simplified, automated, and in many cases, online migrations to the new VNX Series (VNX2) from CLARiiON, Celerra and VNX1. Thousands of our VNX2 customers have already taken advantage of the improved migration options and tools -- utilizing Virtual Data Movers, VPLEX, and PowerPath Migration Enabler to name a few. EMC and select partners also offer a broad set of migration services including online migration services," Siegal wrote.

HP solution providers said that, based on their experience with a similar tool provided by HP for migrating data from HP EVA to HP 3PAR, they expect to be better-equipped going forward to compete against EMC.

NEXT: Migrating To A New Storage Platform Is Risky

Data migration is complex, and having a simple tool like HP 3PAR Online Import becomes a selling point, said Bob Panos, vice president of sales and strategic partnerships at American Digital, an Elk Grove Village, Ill.-based solution provider, which counts HP as its primary vendor.

"It becomes a selling point," Panos said. "When we talk to customers about changing platforms, they ask about the risk. We can say, 'No, we have this software to get you up and running quickly while lowering the risk of changing platforms.'"

Having a tool like HP 3PAR Online Import is important now that HP 3PAR has become one of the most competitive storage offerings in the market, Panos said.

"Before a year ago, it was difficult to compete against EMC," he said. "We had EVA. It was tough. But with the 3PAR 7000 series, we're beating them. It's exciting. It's a good feeling to be able to better compete with EMC."

Jim Bahm, president and CEO of Networking Technologies, an Erie, Pa.-based solution provider, which calls HP its primary server and storage vendor, said that based on his experience with HP's EVA-to-3PAR migration tool, the new HP 3PAR Online Import offering will help in converting EMC VNX and CLARiiON customers to HP.

"Customers don't like change to begin with," Bahm said. "We want change to be less painful than what it has been. This tool will make it easier. Customers understand, yes, they'll get better performance and will better support their applications with new storage. We have customers moving off EMC for those benefits alone. If the new tool to migrate data off EMC works as promised, the change will be easier."

Bahm said he is not surprised that EMC also is emphasizing that its own tools for migrating customers from VNX or CLARiiON to VNX2 make the process easy. "EMC realizes it needs flexibility, and that it needs to do the migration without disrupting their customers' environments," he said.

Even so, solution providers said, HP 3PAR Online Import does not make taking accounts from EMC easy, in part, because getting a customer to change from one vendor's platform to another is always a difficult task.

"It's not easy if the customer is happy," Panos said. "It becomes easier if there's a problem, but we don't see that often. EMC is a formidable competitor."

NEXT: Addressing A Key Barrier To Migrating Data To A New Platform

But, then again, getting customers to switch to American Digital's HP offering is what the solution provider does for a living, Panos said.

"We go into competitive shops and say, 'Here's the new widget. Here's the new platform,'" he said. "We tell them they're using 20-year-old technology with retroactively added features like thin provisioning to something that wasn't originally designed to do it. We then bring them to our lab and show them our equipment."

Bahm said that while the HP 3PAR Online Import tool addresses one of the barriers to helping customers change from an EMC platform to an HP platform, the tool is not the driver for the migration.

"We have to show the benefits of 3PAR," he said. "The technology has to perform. It needs a certain business outcome. If it doesn't meet a customer's needs, it doesn't work. The new tool helps ensure a positive outcome."