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Hewlett-Packard aware of storage deficits

Hewlett-Packard (HP) knows it has storage gaps and the company is working to address them, execs said at the Americas Partner Conference this week.

Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) execs, including CEO Mark Hurd, say they know the company has a storage gap and will remedy the situation.

On Tuesday, the company announced HP StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) for midmarket customers, although none of the Tuesday morning keynoters at HP's Americas Partner Conference (APC) made mention of that news.

The EVA4400 was slipped into an APC press release Tuesday morning. The units, starting at $15,000, should be available in early March.

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But company executives know rivals are gunning for HP storage, and the company is seeing some partners lured into the Dell camp via Dell's acquisition of EqualLogic last year.

Several partners took the stage with Hurd on Monday for a Q&A session. Mark Melillo, CEO of Melillo Consulting, mentioned partner frustration with HP's storage lineup.

"Storage is a big focus in fiscal year '08," Melillo said. "[HP is] asking us to focus and yet the product line is not as competitive as it should be."

Hurd said not to expect a big one-time fix. However, the company is "active from an acquisition perspective and from an organic perspective" in storage, he said, referencing a new low-end refresh to the company's MSA storage line and generally the new EvA offering.

HP's head of storage, David Roberson, is under "a lot of positive pressure, starting with me, to accelerate as fast as we can, but we have to do it right," Hurd said to audience laughter.

Ann Livermore, executive vice president of HP's Technology Solutions Group (TSG), reiterated that message on Tuesday morning but accentuated the positive, citing a double-digit ramp-up rate for storage in the channel for the second half of last year.

"We have half of all disk storage systems, a big footprint in external and internal disk storage. We're determined to be as strong in storage as in servers," she noted. HP is No. 1 in server sales.

"You'll see us invest to see that happen," Livermore added.

Several partners who talked to before the show brought up the storage deficit as a serious problem for HP and their own businesses. Some have signed EqualLogic or LeftHand Networks to plug the hole.

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