Hewlett-Packard believes that the outlook for the storage market in 2009
continues to be strong, and the vendor says it will focus on technologies,
services and programs to help its solution providers address IT expense,
operations, and storage acquisition and management challenges.

Kyle Fitze, director of marketing for the storage platforms division of HP
StorageWorks, says even in the face of continued economic deterioration,
customers’ need for storage continues to grow.

“It’s inevitable, with massive amounts of digital content being created
every day. Customers are really being challenged as to how they will deal with
their needs to store and retain that data,” says Fitze.

In an increasingly challenging budget environment, CIOs are tasked with
reducing overall operating expenses, server and storage administration costs,
and increasing energy efficiency as well, says Fitze. Many of HP’s solution
providers are finding success delivering server virtualization and bladed
virtualized server environments that can cut costs for customers, ease their
management burdens and decrease energy consumption.

And on the heels of that server virtualization trend is storage
virtualization, in which partners are also seeing increased customer interest.
Fitze says HP is uniquely positioned to help solution providers and their end
customers capitalize on storage virtualization technology.

“We’ve been virtualizing storage since the early days of RAID, so
we’ve developed a pretty mature technology set,” says Fitze. Storage
virtualization is a pretty easy sell for partners, since the technology
also touches critical business pain points like business continuity and
increasing the rates of infrastructure utilization, he says.

Across HP’s portfolio, solution providers are experiencing a
convergence of server and storage architecture, Fitze says. With HP’s
virtual tape library technology, networking storage technologies
acquired from LeftHand Networks and even SANs are blurring the lines
between what used to be two different technologies.

“Increasingly, storage products look a whole lot like a server running an
application, and that’s because they are. It’s essentially a storage
application running on a server,” he says.

Fitze says HP’s LeftHand Networks acquisition has bolstered its storage
virtualization offerings and has allowed the vendor to work toward more
advanced network-based storage virtualization products to help customers
achieve the technology’s benefits.

HP will focus its efforts on all market segments, since most companies,
regardless of size, face the same business challenges, according to Fitze.

“Larger enterprises may address those challenges in a more comprehensive way
by virtualizing all their data centers. Smaller customers may try to pool their
storage resources on simple-to-manage IP networks and SANs,” he says, another
area where LeftHand Networks’ SAN
technologies will be leveraged.

Along with all the space and utilization savings, Fitze says energy
efficiency is also key for solution providers whose customers want to save
money across the board. Deploying lower-power technology like solid-state disks
and SATA (Serial ATA) can provide low-power, high-capacity storage.

Solution providers can also deliver services around these technologies by
helping customers better understand their data and data storage strategy to
help build the right kind of storage environment for their needs, he says.

“Solution providers can push their customers to better understand the types
of data in their environment, and can also advise how best to tier that data
across their environments,” he says.

Storage in the cloud, far from being a threat to HP’s traditional storage
solution providers, is an opportunity, says Fitze.

“We are looking at ways to enable customers to get more of their IT
infrastructure over cloud-based models,” he says, adding that the cloud isn’t
an answer in all cases. Certain applications like backup and archiving lend
themselves better to cloud delivery, and there will still be a need for on-site,
more traditional storage hardware, he says.