HP - Parsed and Future

So, after a furor of news, we can all settle down now in the knowledge that there will be two HP's. I so wanted one to be called Hewlett and the other Packard! Maybe with a lower-case "i" in front of each name for a contemporary nod and wink to the founders. By the way, if ever you are having trouble remembering which HP is which, they did at least make that easy for us: the ink is in the Inc.

Frankly I really don't have a lot to add to all the financial excitement: spin-outs seem to be the name of the game right now (think IBM and eBay re PC's/servers and PayPal respectively), But, hey, when a company splits and still has two "siblings" each north of $50B revenue, one feels one should mark the occasion. So, farewell, HP, long live HPs. And I don't say that just to be cute: HP is one of a handful of companies where - outside of the day-to-day fisticuffs of sales - even its competitors root for it...it is part of the fabric of IT and indeed of the US.

But what does this split - when it actually happens - mean for the area I focus on...storage systems? In the short (now) to medium (say 2016/7) term I really can't see that it is going to be that much. Of course there have been other recent, well-publicized rumors swirling around HP (of the 3 letter EMC variety!) but for the sake of this, I am assuming they are just that...rumors. At face-value the HP storage business - which has actually been doing pretty well compared to its big competitors of late - remains just a part of the business: Of course, it is a key element in the Converged Infrastructure that HP has been driving [towards] for some time now, but then again it already was. Now, all the blurb around the logic for the split talks about increased focus, nimbleness, investment, and so on, but I have not seen any major lack of focus or nimbleness (indeed quite the opposite) in the HP Storage ranks of late...and if investment resources were tight (is there anywhere where they are not felt to be so!?) it is hard to foresee any significant immediate affect when roadmaps in this business take many years to manifest into GA products. I'm not negative on the change....but I simply don't see a great deal of upside or downside as far as the storage unit and its customers/prospects go. Basically, if you like the existing HP Storage story then you should feel at least as happy as you were already to deal with it. And if you happen to prefer some other vendor right now, then I wouldn't hold off any decisions expecting dramatic new choices anytime soon.

Like many, I really do wish HP(s) well. Some things are perplexing, to be sure: quite how splitting the company into two leads to extra layoffs (as HP also announced) I fail to grasp...although I assume it is simply an admission that there was [at least seen to be] more to cut in the first place. Aside from the internal organizational streamlining and the financial analysis of the split, the fact remains that HP - however many operating companies or divisions there are - still simply has to execute. In ESG's last storage trends research, one of the questions posed was this: "In general, what would you consider to be the most important criteria to your organization when it comes to selecting a storage vendor/solution?" The number one response (each respondent could check five criteria) was "Total cost of ownership" for 65% of respondents, followed by "Service and support" at 53%. You have to look a long way down the criteria list to get to things like "Existing relationship with vendor" (22%) and "size/financial stability of vendor" (just 15%). In other words, product, value, and service matter a lot....the business card and scale of the vendor much less so. A split HP is no real guarantee of more future success in the storage arena (where it is/was trucking along pretty well), whereas executing against its existing strategy and product roadmap is.

Topics: Storage IT Infrastructure