Fiorina Talks Down HP Storage Problems, Talks Up Channel

During her Tuesday morning keynote at the event, held this week in Houston, Fiorina only briefly referred to operational snafus in HP's storage unit, which were disclosed last month as part of larger supply-chain problems that deflated HP's quarterly financial results. The company blamed the situation on difficulties in implementing a new SAP-based infrastructure, while many industry observers said the problems had more to do with a poor storage strategy.

Nevertheless, Fiorina said HP knows it has to build trust with end users every day.

"I have come today in particular because some of you question if we are committed to storage," she said, adding that HP is the worldwide leader in storage market revenue and sells one of every two hard drives that go to market. "I'm here to tell you, our commitment to leadership in storage is not wavering."

After outlining HP's Adaptive Infrastructure and Storage Grid strategies, Fiorina introduced a few new initiatives, including efforts focused on solutions providers. She said HP aims to devote more personnel to supporting partners"especially those working with small and midsize businesses"and to ensure that related leads are passed to partners right away. HP also plans to increase the amount of sales tools those partners can use.

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In addition, HP intends to help customers better understand storage technology through an educational initiative called Simply StorageWorks. Originally started overseas, the effort is now being expanded to the United States and Canada, HP executives said. The strategy includes three programs: My First SAN, Easy As NAS, and Ultimate Business Protection.

My First SAN explains SANs and their benefits, breaks down the related hardware components and shows how they fit into an entry-level HP StorageWorks portfolio. Easy As NAS shows how NAS fits alongside SAN to improve storage efficiency, as well as how NAS can be a cost-effective alternative to traditional direct-attached storage. Finally, Ultimate Business Protection explains how SMBs can use data backup and restore as part of a business continuity program, including ways to choose data-protection solutions that match their business needs and budgets.

Fiorina said HP also is kicking off a U.S. road tour to emphasize its commitment to simplifying storage for SMBs. The 70-city Better Together Tour, which other HP executives dubbed the "Simply StorageWorks customer and channel partner road show," started at the StorageWorks conference with the introduction of the HP Better Together trailer, an 18-wheel truck equipped with HP's latest storage technologies.