HP targets midrange with new 3Par family

David Scott, SVP and GM, HP Storage

David Scott, SVP and GM, HP Storage

FRANKFURT, GERMANY – HP took a big step towards realizing its vision when it acquired storage rising star 3Par two-plus years ago, announcing new products in the 3Par family that will take the brand clearly into the midrange market.

The company called its 3Par StoreServ 7000 family products “the first tier one storage for the midrange,” and David Scott, senior vice president and general manager of HP Storage, called the midrange a new $11 billion (U.S.) market opportunity for the 3Par brand.

“We believe it brings effortless tier one performance into the midmarket,” Scott said, adding that the standard 3Par value proposition including autonomic provisioning and management applies to the new products. “We believe we are obliterating the barriers between high-end tier one storage and mid-range platforms.”

The company introduced two new 3Par products – the 7400, a quad-controller system, and the 7200, a dual-controller system, at price points of $32,000 (U.S.) and $20,000 (U.S.), respectively.

Tom Joyce, vice president of marketing, strategy, and operations for HP Storage, said that by making 3Par the de facto primary storage platform from the midrange through to the high end of the midmarket. The company had already moved 3Par into the high end of the enterprise market (and into the service provider market) with the launch of the V series products, and now by bringing it down to the midmarket, the plan to expand 3Pear’s presence is nearly complete – as is the answer to the question of the roadmap for the future for the company’s EVA family of storage, a family whose place has largely been subsumed by the 3Par platform.

Joyce said the 7200 would appeal to customers who are price-sensitive, but “want a simple and repeatable solution,” while a “a lot of 7400 customers will be buying a two-node version with expandability.”

Extending into the midrange also creates some overlap between HP’s StoreVirtual product line (the family of products formerly known as LeftHand pre-acquisition), but Joyce minimized that internal competition, particularly because the company has worked to redefine LeftHand as a software-only solution, still based on the company’s ProLiant servers.

“Overlap is not necessarily bad – there are different types of customers,” he said, noting that at this point, the StoreVirtual/LeftHand and 3Par teams are “pretty much combined.”

With the new products attacking a large and entirely new (to 3Par) market segment, it makes sense that HP sees an opportunity to build a much larger channel with the new products. And, indeed, it has set about doing that – perhaps the culmination of the transformation of 3Par, a company that was largely direct selling prior to its purchase by HP, into a channel-centric company.

In fact, Joyce said, the company tried something entirely new with this launch, informing channel partners about it months in advance, to the point where there are 1,500 channel sales people trained on the 7000 series at launch date, and meaning that “immediate availability” of the products includes immediate deliverability from the channel.”

“It’s amazing we haven’t had more leaks than we had,” Joyce said, reflecting on the sheer number of partners brought inside on the news so far in advance.

His strategy for further channel building: Sign up the company’s existing EVA and ProLiant partners for 3Par.

“The lion’s share of this stuff will be sold through or with channel partners,” Joyce said.