Although Hewlett-Packard Co.'s storage revenue has been on the upswing since last year's third quarter, it remains down from a year ago. HP's first-quarter results showed a slight year-over-year decline in storage revenue, but a smaller one than in previous periods. Bob Schultz, HP's general manager of storage solutions, spoke with Computerworld about HP's plan for improving its competitive position in the storage market. One thing Schultz wouldn't talk about is whether the departure of former HP CEO Carly Fiorina will affect his plans.

Question:
How are you responding to increased pressure from IBM at the high end, Dell at the low end and EMC at both ends?

Answer:
In Q3 (2004), we were down 15 percent (year-over-year in storage revenue). In Q4, we were down 10 percent. In Q1 (2005), we were down 1 percent. That gives you the trajectory, which is up and to the right. On all those fronts, the challenge was around field execution. We've been hiring storage specialists, because as you look at the high end, that's certainly where you need someone that's steeped in knowledge. We've been partnering with channel partners. That process is going on, and that'll give us more coverage.

Question:
You recently signed a deal with AppIQ to resell its StorageAuthority product as a way to combine server and storage management on one screen. Vendors like Hitachi and IBM have signed similar deals. What sets HP apart?

Answer:
We're the first ones really unifying servers and storage. When I look at what Hitachi has done in the past, it's been all around storage. What I believe IBM is doing is all around its TotalStorage management center. What we're doing is saying, as you look out into the future, where we virtualize the infrastructure, you really want to be managing the servers and storage in a consistent way.

Question:
Users have given your midrange Enterprise Virtual Array high marks, but that's at the homogeneous level, not the heterogeneous level. How will HP support competitors' systems?

Answer:
We're missing mainframe support on the EVA, but that's not the targeted market for EVA.

Question:
That's on the server side, but what about the host side? What if I have EVA on the back end and I want to have EMC's Centera or Hitachi's Thunder array on the same network?

Answer:
The benefit of working on the open management platform is that we'll manage heterogeneous environments. That's one of the values of working with AppIQ. They bring relationships with Hitachi and others.

Question:
IBM said it is already doing that and extended the integration recently to its BladeCenter server systems, where you have the servers, network and storage all in one place. What sets you apart?

Answer:
"All in one place" is different from integrated. A lot of people . . . say, "Let's have this single pane of glass," which means, "Let's have 27 windows running on a single monitor." A lot of companies say (they) have tools in each space, but what they really haven't done is say, "We're going to have a systems management tool that highly integrates how I manage my storage and my compute environment."