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Customers demand better returns on information and infrastructure too, not just investment: Barun Lala

Shubhra Rishi | April 1, 2013
IDC predicts that converged infrastructure will transition from market hype to market reality in 2013. Barun Lala, director-Storage at HP India, spoke about HP’s innovations in its converged storage portfolio.

Earlier, customers used to buy on the upfront cost of a product. But today, customers who are into high performance computing or have their own datacenters face several challenges and considerations. Firstly, the datacenter footprint is becoming smaller. The new datacenters being built have 2,000-2,500 square feet of raised floor space. And because of this change, the availability of the datacenter in terms of cost capture is becoming extremely important. This transformation in customer behavior is also because they are looking at a five-year TCO of the product--in terms of power rating, saving of floor space, cooling parameters, and air-conditioning cost. These are the different parameters contributing to the decision-making cycle of customers.

What are some of the demands of Indian customers in the storage space?

Let me give you a snapshot of the worldwide storage market. It's divided into three broad segments: High-end, mid-range, and SMB. What we see in India is that the mid-range segment caters to 60-65 percent of the overall storage market and the size of this market is expanding everyday. Therefore, HP is trying to bring in enterprise class features into our mid-range boxes, thereby making the solutions feature-rich and affordable. Our customers have realized which technologies feature mainly in the decision-making cycle. For instance, today, solid state drives are becoming affordable. So customers are storing their critical data on solid-state drives and the non-critical or archival data on SATA drives. They are balancing the use of technology to reduce their cost of ownership. Therefore, features such as multi-tenancy and variable-chunking are offering customers the flexibility to choose solutions with features that were only available for the enterprise segment.

What changes have you observed in customer behavior with regard to buying storage products?

Essentially, earlier, customers used to look for better ROI on their products. Today, this complete landscape has changed. Return on investment alone is not enough; customers want to see a better return on information too. What this means is customers need to gain flexibility to generate information for their complete data storage and use analytics to extract value from all types of information. Secondly, customers also want better return on individuals. For instance, with our offerings, one of our customers is able to manage legacy infrastructure challenges by hiring graduates with 12-18 months' experience, instead of professionals with 10-12 years of experience. Third, customers demand a better return on infrastructure. They are looking at better asset utilization through polymorphic design and architecture in their datacenters. HP has launched products such as HP 3PAR StoreServ Storage, HP StoreAll Storage for handling big data in a simplistic format and reducing the need for additional use of administrators or hardware to manage big data, and HP StoreOnce Backup offering for backup and restore solutions. We are also launching the HP StoreOnce catalyst software which provides efficient data movements and reduces data protection cost at remote sites and datacenters.


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