HP Kicks Off Last Discover With Razor-Sharp Focus

LAS VEGAS: Talk about focus: for what is the last event it will hold as the IT industry’s largest vendor, is making just 4 product announcements at HP Discover 2015. Approximately 10,000 customers, partners and employees (12,000 at last year’s event, and 48,000 less employees since the recent round of layoffs began) have come to Sin City to hear the latest about the company that will cease to exist in just a few months, and I can’t remember ever covering an event with such little news.

Of course the biggest news coming out of HP is the developing story that come November 1 it will be reconfigured into two Fortune 50-size companies, and HP, (i.e. PCs and printers), almost equally splitting the company’s $110-billion-plus pie. The soon-to-be second-largest IT vendor (or will that be second and third largest?), once again trailing IBM in the enterprise space, also provided details on two of the  announcements, all-flash data centers and a developer-focused testing solution.

As of the latest financial results, while Chairman, President & CEO Meg Whitman acknowledged some challenges in the last quarter — especially networking and services — she said she is pleased with HP’s overall progress and the turnaround, and “more convinced than ever that this [split] is the right thing to do. Over the past six months we’ve seen the markets continue to shift and evolve at a rapid pace.”

For its latest quarter, HP reported revenue of $25.5 billion, down 7% year over year, or 2% in constant currency. From a business unit perspective:

-Personal Systems revenues were down 5% YoY (flat in constant currency),

-printing revenue declined 7%,

-Enterprise Group revenue dipped 1%, (+5%),

-Industry Standard Servers up a strong 11% (+17%),

-Business Critical Systems tumbled 15% (-10%),

-Storage declined 8% (-2%),

-Networking tanked, down 16% (-11%)

-Technology Services was off 8% (-2%),

-Enterprise Services struggled, down 16% (-10%), and,

-Software dropped 8% (-5%) in constant currency.

A total of 3,900 people exited the company last quarter, bringing the current total of cuts to 48,000, with another 7,000 expected to go by the end of fiscal 2015.

But more about the company, Meg’s and the senior managements’ keynotes and its future in subsequent stories. For now, let’s focus on the two announcements.

The all-flash data centers announcements center on the star of HP’s storage portfolio, 3PAR. While the storage business was down 8% YoY (-2% in constant currency), the company reported ‘solid growth’ in 3PAR, including all-flash revenue, with Gartner calling HP ‘the fastest growing flash vendor in 2014.’

In addition to enhancements to the 3PAR StoreServ Storage family, including 25% lower cost flash capacity ($1.50 per usable gigabyte), HP announced a new class of massively scalable flash arrays, and flash-optimized data services to accelerate IT-as-a-Service consolidation and hybrid IT initiatives.

These announcements — $1.50/TB, platforms (20000 family), software resiliency, and new software innovations and storage federation — represent the end of performance disk drives (15k and 10k), said Vish Mulchand, Senior Director, Product Management & Marketing, HP Storage, who added that high-end arrays is another thing he thinks is struggling. He told IT Trends & Analysis that the ability to have predictable, high-performance, less physical space and lower cost are driving a groundswell to the all-flash data center.

That’s particularly true in the service provider — i.e. very large storage buyers — space, said Mulchand. “SPs are all about delivering a predictable level of performance. They have told us flash arrays have given them predictable performance they can count on.” And the savings go directly down to the bottom line, he added.

The other target market, enterprises, are increasingly “tired of monolithic high-end storage… EMC… the expensive software licensing model.” The are now starting to move to the all flash array model, he said.

HP said there will be a 46% compound annual growth rate for all-flash arrays over the next five years (IDC), and that is the fastest growing flash vendor based on revenue from shipments of Solid-State Arrays in the market in 2014 (Gartner). With the objective to continue this growth, HP unveiled the StoreServ Storage 20000 enterprise flash family, which boosts performance with ‘over 3.2 million IOPS at sub-millisecond latency and consumes 85% less space than traditional high-end arrays for massive footprint reduction.’

Built around 3.84 terabyte drives, these AFAs’s per-GB pricing is approaching that of 10K RPM SAS hard disk drives, and with the storage features can reduce capacity needs by 6 times, effectively slashing the cost per gigabyte to $0.25.

Mulchand expects 3PAR’s phenomenal AFA growth — up 1,000%-plus, from $8.8m revenue in 2013 to $102m in 2014, to continue. “I think I see this continued growth. Maybe not 1000% of growth, but in the multiple hundreds percent of growth. I think the opportunity ahead of us is expansion, disrupting the high end. We’ve seen a huge number of accounts we normally don’t play in.”

The second announcement is targeted at a small portion of the development community, but a significant portion, said HP’s Genefa Murphy, Head of Product Marketing, ADM (Application Development Management). She told IT Trends & Analysis that less than 10% of the market does daily updates, but just half that, less than 5%, must deal with continuous testing and continuous delivery. These customers must test more often, and test faster, she said.

Built for this segment, and existing ecosystems (such as Microsoft TFS, GIT, and Subversion), is a functional test automation solution that HP says ‘allows software developers and testers to rapidly build, test, and deliver secure, high-quality applications for  faster time to market, higher predictability and quality, and lower overall costs throughout the development lifecycle.’ The company says thiis new offering balances the twin imperatives of velocity and quality by allowing developers to operate in the modern Agile and DevOps ecosystem, while also leveraging HP’s proven capabilities in application testing and application lifecycle management.

What people have been calling continuous development really wasn’t, said Murphy, but recent high-profile issues like the last Black Friday when the sites from Best Buy, Amazon and Google all went down, have been

acting as a catalyst for our customers. “I think there is a definite sense of urgency.”

The changes — and demands — are coming fast, and organizations must become faster and more agile, while ensuring quality, and security, she said. “We’re not the wild west. We have to think of enterprise security.

We’re covering the back for them, but at the same time not shackling them.”

Pricing and availability:

-3.84 TB cMLC SSDs are available immediately;

- will ship in August, starting at $75,000;

-all new 3PAR StoreServ software features will only be available for 20000 systems;

- with 3PAR Remote Copy support will be available this month at no additional charge to customers who have an existing RMC-V or license and a valid support contract;

-LeanFT will be available in July 2015 on http://saas.hp.com; and will also be available in July, with customers who upgrade to UFT 12.5 also receiving LeanFT free of charge; and,

- is available now for free on five pre-production application instances.
DISCLAIMER: HP has looked after accommodations, and I’m also a relatively happy shareholder.

Author: Steve Wexler

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