This month (just slightly ahead of the full-force Spring "show season" that hits in April and May), HP gathered its loyal partner base in Vegas at its Global Partner Conference. My colleague, ESG Senior Partnering Consultant Kevin Rhone, and I were on hand and pulled together another "ESG On Location" video to try to capture some of the key take-aways from our perspectives.
Of course, my bias was to huddle with the HP Storage crew (as is obvious from watching the video); however, across the event as a whole and despite the the gamut of HP offerings on display, the emphasis this year was far less on specific new products and enhancements (though there were still plenty, as required at big shindigs like this!) and way more on how the partner community can and should adjust to the new, mainly-converging brand of IT. While some dyed-in-the-wool old school channel players find this a tad scary, for the most part, HP's partners seemed to have gone beyond the "understanding" and "resigned to their fate" phases and to generally be at some point on the "embracing" curve. That has to be seen as positive for both HP and its "clan," and could be a much-appreciated bright spot as HP continues its corporate transformation.
This week I'm here at HP's Global Partner Conference. Now obviously partners are very important to the IT ecosystem these days, but with all the events everyone has to attend, it can feel like what you're seeing on screen now, you can just feel like a big wheel. So in just a moment we're going to hear from some HP folks about the market as a whole, and some of the product announcements that were tied to this event. But first off, let's hear from my colleague, Kevin Rhone, who covers the channel and partner ecosystem specifically.
Kevin: In addition to the technologies and the business processes, and all of the allied products and services, the conference today was as much about talking to the partners about their adaptation to the business model. How they're transforming their businesses to sell along the hybrid curve, and provide a range of services and products for their customers. The highlight for me was talking to a couple of the partners that make up the turbo charged cloud group, a group of select 45 partners in North America who are getting it right. I talked to one partner who was smaller to mid-sized, focused on a wide range of HP technologies provided to mid-market companies and making it work, and another one who is focused almost exclusively on healthcare, and went deep and wide with, not only technology, but services and workloads to really make the cloud sing.
Brad: We're here talking to partners and customers a lot about how to build a coherent and consistent approach to the data center. Customers have two types of workloads on a spectrum. Service level optimized workloads where they need Flash optimized performance, absolute resiliency, that's the design center. On the other hand, we've got cost optimized workload. That's where they're looking to co-locate apps and servers and hypervisor and storage in the same infrastructure to lower cost. That sets up 3PAR for service level optimized, and StoreVirtual, our software defined storage for that cost optimized workload, all knitted together with a common set of data services that are federated for backup, data retention, archival, and then managed at a single way through converged management like HP-OneView.
Vish: So what does it mean to take Flash mainstream? Think of three key attributes, affordability, choice, and the resiliency. The prices for Flash systems are falling, but I think there's more to affordability than prices. Storage performance used to be a function of the number of disk drives you could put into a system. Flash changes all of that, and you see now people delivering two to three times better service levels at a tenth of the rack space at a seventh of the power and cooling. There's actually a savings in the software licensing as well because you don't need as much. As you deploy Flash, the question becomes, "How do I deploy it?"
All Flash arrays are one choice point, for sure, but there may be other choice points as well, right? Can I deploy Flash in a caching mechanism? Can I deploy Flash as a tier in addition to my other spinning storage systems? So you want to be able to have the right tool for the right job. The third adage is around resiliency. It is a single system, resilient, capable of surviving multiple failures. How do you do replication in an all Flash environment, right? Are you able to replicate across different sites? Are you able to replicate across three sites? Are you able to replicate to a different tier or storage if it's not Flash? And how do you back up Flash storage, right? When you take Flash mainstream, it's an important attribute you need to cover.
Rob: It's been really exciting being here at HP's Global Partner Conference this week. A lot of fun interacting with our partners and hearing how they're interacting with our customers. And what we're hearing back from them is that hyper-convergence and software defined storage are a real differentiator for us here at HP, and that bringing a portfolio approach versus a product approach, or a single point product approach, is really important. So not only having a hyper-converged platform like we do in the CS200 StoreVirtual, but the fact that they can bring through the partner to our customers and users can leverage things such as Helion OpenStack with StoreVirtual embedded, or our VSA, our virtual storage appliance technology on top of VSX Hyper-V in their existing data centers, taking advantage of their Intel, Wintel servers and their hypervisors such as ESX or Hyper-V that already have deployed, either on our servers, or on other people's servers and storage technology. So it's been very exciting getting the feedback and being able to build that back into our road maps so that we hear the pulse of our customers.
Mark: So as we reach the end, and I get a bit of a sit down, always tiring coming to these events. What else can I tell you? Both from the partners with whom I spoke, and also from talking to Kevin who's been to a large number of these events, what was really noticeable to both of us was how positive this event felt. That's not always been the case before. Now, is that due to new announcements? Is that due to how the market is moving? Is that due to specific partner programs? The answer is, I don't really know, but all those things seem to be moving into favor of a big systems company like HP having more success in the future, and clearly the partners that are here feel that.