HP Storage TechDay (January 2012)

First I would like to thank Calvin and his team for inviting me out to Fort Collins for Hp TechDay, it truly was a great experience. Second I would like to say that this post should have been done two weeks ago, but my day job has been crazy busy and this is literally the first chance I have had to update the blog. On to the content…

The day and a half event covered many of the technologies that HP is working on from sustainable datacenter technologies to the new (and awesome) X5000 server series to how HP integrates with and has optimized their products for VMware.

Besides myself there were ten other bloggers at the event:

Alastair Cooke http://www.demitasse.co.nz @DemitasseNZ
Brian Knudtson http://www.knudt.net/vblog @bknudtson
Ray Lucchesi http://www.silvertonconsulting.com/blog @raylucchesi
Howard Marks http://deepstorage.net @deepstoragenet
John Obeto http://absolutelywindows.com @johnObeto
Jeff Powers http://www.geekazine.com @geekazine
Rich Schandler http://vbulletin.com @vmrick
Derek Schauland http://techhelp.cybercreations.net @webjunkie
Justin Vashisht http://3cvguy.blog.com @3cvguy
Matt Vogt http://mattvogt.posterous.com @mattvogt

It was great to meet all of the guys, some I had met before at VMworld, but most were new. Anyhow, on to what we actually got to see.

Agenda – Day 1

Strategy Overview – Craig Nunes

P4800 Preso Brad Katz

B6200 – Matt Jacoby / Steve Johnson

3PAR – Jim Richardson

File-Based Portfolio Chriss Duffy Jim Hankins

My biggest take away from day one was the D2D Backup appliances that HP now has, they were completely developed in-house and leverage hardware that HP has been selling for years, so you know they are rock solid boxes. I also like that they scale from very small to stupid big and all use the same interface!

Another awesome product that HP showed us was the X5000 chassis (aka E5000). It is designed to be a cluster in a box for workloads like Microsoft Exchange and Microsoft Storage Server clusters. It features 2 BL460 blade servers and an MDS600 based storage shelf with 12 3.5″ drive slots. The offering basically gets you a clustered Exchange environment or a clustered file server environment to ensure high availability. Personally, I want to get a hold of this chassis and get two VMware ESXi 5 nodes loaded up and see if it is possible to build a “cluster-in-a-box” for the SMB market…. but we shall see.

Day one was also my first intro to 3PAR storage, and I must say it is pretty cool stuff, but it also looks like its a Big Co Inc. sale only. Presenting the 3PAR material was Jim Richardson, and I must say that if we ever sell a 3PAR … this will be the guy I call, his no-bullshit attitude is pretty cool for a sales guy!

Agenda – Day 2

HP Storage and VMware  Eric Siebert Aboubacar Diare

Virtual System Mike Koponen Khalid Alabbasi

New Belgium Tour

Obviously, any time you have a brewery tour it is going to be the coolest thing I did that day. However, following closely behind in second place has to be the talk that Aboubacar gave. Basically, his job is to make sure that HP knows all there is in know about the inner workings of vSphere so that the developers can optimize their software and hardware for that workload. He explained VAAI and VASA in depth, far more technical then I have ever heard, and it made sense! It is really nice to know that HP does this too… between this talk and VMware always saying that HP is its closest partner, I am glad we have HP Proliant servers as our lead product.

HP Virtual System

HP Virtual System is interesting to me, this is because I really like the idea but unfortunately I do not think it’s being executed properly. First, let’s talk about what it is, because if you are like I was you probably have no idea what I’m talking about. Virtual System is a totally prebuilt and converged virtualization environment. It contains HP Proliant servers, HP storage (3PAR or P4000 Lefthand) and HP Networking; and the idea is that you order a Virtual System that has the capacity that you need and then you plug it in much like a refrigerator… no assembly required.

This is pretty cool because it makes the ordering process very simple and it means that even a non-technical person can run vSphere… the problem is (just like with vBlock or VCE or whatever) is that its designed for large companies…. what do large companies have? Specialized IT people. So this is where I see the problem, instead of marketing a system for 1000 VM’s make one for 50 or 100 VM’s that can get into the real SMB market… something in the 100k range, so that the people who don’t know what they are doing and cant afford a VMware GURU on staff can still get a top of the line environment to run their servers on.

Overall I had a great time and hope that Calvin has me back in the future. It’s always nice to hang out with a bunch of like-minded geeks and share stories and experiences. Not to mention a few beers!

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