Comment It was recently reported that Manish Goel, HPE’s head of storage, had left the company. This seems to be one of a number of changes, including the departure of cloud head Bill Hilf.
Although I didn’t meet him directly, Goel presented to the bloggers/influencers at the latest HPE Discover event in Las Vegas.
Goel took over from David Scott, an almost impossible act to follow after the success of the HPE 3PAR platform, since the acquisition of 3PAR by HPE in 2010. In fact the success of this product line and others has propelled HPE’s storage business back to the top of the earnings table, at least according to IDC. HPE has just edged ahead of EMC on total storage systems sales and is the only external storage system sales vendor to increase share (apart from “others” – see IDC's list here).
Now, after around 12 months in the job, Goel left the company, to be replaced by Bill Philbin. What will be the future focus for HPE Storage? The 3PAR business seems to be solid, with news and feature updates forming the lead of almost all the storage announcements at HPE Discover events over the last few years. The question is whether this area can continue to be the growth engine of the future.
HPE has other storage products in the portfolio such as StoreVirtual, StoreOnce and StoreAll. There’s also a partnership with Scality for object storage. Manish Goel divided the storage business into what he called “system-defined” and “software-defined”, basically either dedicated hardware or software solutions. Both also contribute to the HPE hyper-converged offerings available today.
Going forward, the future is Philbin’s to decide, however we are moving to an increasingly data mobile world. Although 3PAR is a great solution for service providers, there’s no supported “cloud” version in part possibly due to the use of custom hardware (see Richard Arnold’s brief post on the 3PAR ASIC). Public cloud is supported by StoreVirtual. Personally, I’d like to see more focus placed on StoreVirtual and using the software as a mobility play between applications in the public and private cloud. This includes linking StoreVirtual and 3PAR to allow data replication directly, without additional hardware/software.
The Architect’s view
3PAR is the jewel in HPE’s storage crown, at least when it comes to leading the marketing message. However, a vast percentage of HPE’s storage hardware sales isn’t from external storage arrays and software-defined has to be more of a lead in the future. Perhaps the firm's Discover conference in London in December will shed some light on exactly how HPE intends to develop the storage business in the post-Scott era and where it will rank in the storage sales league.