HP's storage sales are slipping. Backing up the Mark Hurd quarterly results comment Gartner has found that most storage vendors had growing revenue except HP.

It endured a double-digit decline while most other major storage vendors reported double digit growth. Hurd identified top-end array sales as a week spot and tape as a market facing decline. It could be worse than that. HP's disk sales generally are suffering, I feel, because the company is not embracing disk-to-disk backup fast enough.

Have you heard about HP's take on data de-duplication? No, neither have I. The company comes up with great-sounding concepts like a storage grid and the FAB idea for building really cheap storage. But these research concepts don't make the transition into really great products.

It's responding to the coming energy cost crisis heading towards data centres with software to identify hot areas in a data centre and move activity to cooler areas. It's a start and similar in a way to EMC's energy efficiency assessment service; a kind of holding action showing awareness of an issue whilst the real product development work goes on.

EMC's product development work is well underway, building on its Avamar acquisition. HP's is ... well, where is it? Where is its spindle reduction development effort? MAID? No. Data de-duplication? No. Moving to 2.5 inch drives? No.

An EMC comment is that HP is wedded to customer base legacy revenue protection and will not rock the boat by embracing disruptive technology. It generally has an OEM storage model and is thus dependent upon its driving of OEM relationships to get fresh product answering market needs.

Sun is re-generating its storage business with Thumper and Honeycomb and developing new storage paradigms. It's developing its virtual tape library for open systems by working with FalconStor. What is HP doing?

Developing the All-in-One small business drive arrays which are very good as far as they go. Otherwise coasting is, I think, a reasonable assessment. For Mark Hurd coasting is not an option. Some serious CEO boot is going to get applied to HP's storage pedal and that division is going to get motoring in 2007. Or else.