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Hewlett-Packard is hoping to go head to head with IBM in the storage arena as it looks to shift position from its number three spot in the sector.

Speaking in a pre-recorded video played at Avnet’s HP partner summit, Mark Hurd, HP CEO, stated that the storage market would be a big focus area for HP in the coming year and that integrating storage products and services with the rest of HP’s portfolio was an area he’d asked executives to focus on.

"Frankly, if you look at the [storage] market, we’re number three. And no one wants to buy from a number three supplier," Adrian Jones, vice president and GM, solutions partner organization, Americas, said at the summit, held Nov. 26 to 29 in Phoenix. However, according to Jones, HP and its partners can win storage deals, increase attach rates and drive growth by taking a holistic approach with customers. "We want VARs to sell the entire HP portfolio," Jones said, including blades, storage arrays and consolidation and virtualization services.

HP’s recent reorganization within its data center practice area will boost these efforts, according to Frank Rauch, vice president of TSG (Technology Solutions Group), a solutions partner organization. By lowering the sales representative-to-VAR ratio from 20:1 to approximately 12:1 and adding data center specialists, HP and its partners will be able to go toe-to-toe with competitors such as IBM, he said.

Click here to find out who’s who in HP’s channel hierarchy.

Avnet’s CIA (Consolidation Impact Assessment) Services, announced at the partner summit Nov. 27, dovetails nicely with HP’s emphasis on blades, storage and data center technology, Rauch said.

"The best way to get into a customer’s data center is to perform an assessment," he said. Adding consolidation and storage into that assessment makes selling an end-to-end HP solution simpler, Rauch said.

According to IDC, HP trailed EMC and IBM in the worldwide external disk storage market with 13.6 percent revenue share in the second quarter 2007, compared to EMC’s 21.4 percent revenue share and IBM’s 14.4 percent revenue share.

In Q2 2007, HP tied with Computer Associates for fifth-largest worldwide storage software revenue share with 4.7 percent, IDC reported.