I wasn’t sure what to expect at my first HP Discover, however one thing is for sure. The same community feel that ‘VMware’ has exists at HP. I think that this starts with Calvin Zito @HPStorageGuy who takes care to ensure that you are welcomed and introduced to other community members.
Entering HP Discover, it felt the same as VMworld (probably linked to the fact that it is held at the same place), with the usual check in process. I was expecting an abundance of ‘swag’, but was quite surprised with the distinct lack of it, with just an event guide and a sessions schedule.
When entering the vendor floor, I started to see some major differences with other events.
- The first being that HP Discover has a business feel to it, with most of the attendees wearing suits.
- The second is the no ‘swag’ theme continues, with the approach focused on the technology to entice you into a conversation rather than a ‘free pen’.
- The third is that the demo/stand staff seem to be well versed to answer technical questions, which is great. At other events you tend to get ‘we will look it that or you need to wait for Dave to come back’.
Next on the agenda was a concept that HP call a ‘Coffee Talk’ which is an awesome concept. Essentially, HP wheel in a person of standing, for example David Scott (Senior Vice President and General Manager, Storage). It’s not often you get time with these individuals, so kudos for HP for making it happen.
The framework for the Coffee Talks is, and I quote ‘hosed down with information’ Chris Purcell @chrispman01 which usually lasts for around 20 minutes. After this it’s a Q&A session, giving you the ability to find out or challenge the ‘HP leader’ on their particular area of responsibility.
A great question was posed to David Scott by Chris Evans @chrismevans which was along the lines of ‘how and why has HP managed to drop the price of the StoreServ 7450 all flash array?’ For me, these are the best type of questions as they are open.
David answered this by explaining they had produced greater efficiency in software by modifying the OS for adaptive sparing (part of the SSD is hidden from use so when blocks can no longer be written to due to degradation they come from the adaptive sparing area) essentially making the adaptive sparing area smaller in space. So this with using a different MLC technology provider has driven down the costs by 50%.
David then went onto explain that they had have also introduced further efficiency by driving the IOPS from 550K to 900K just by a software upgrade to Inform OS 3.1.3 which is due to be released in January 2014.
Part of the reason for coming to HP Discover was to meet other bloggers who are interested in storage and all things HP. HP have dedicated part of the conference to form the ‘Bloggers Lounge’. In this area you can meet the likes of:
- Calvin Zito @HPStorageGuy
- Enrico Signoretti @esignoretti
- Alastair Cooke @DemitasseNZ
- Chris Wahl @ChrisWahl
- Chris Evens @chrismevans
- Luca Dell’Oca @dellock6
- Luigi Tiano @ltiano
- Federica Monsone @Fred_Monsone
A couple of item’s I wasn’t aware of, which will require further investigation are:
- 3PAR StoreServ QoS. This works at the virtual volume level and guarantees, bandwidth IOPS or latency to the volume in question. The use case for this is to remove the requirement for Enterprise Plus licensing in vSphere for SIOC avoiding the ‘noisy neighbor syndrome’ by placing your most valuable VM’s onto individual virtual volumes. QoS is part of the Optimization Suite which is likely to be in place already if your customer is using storage tiering.
- 3PAR vCenter Operations Management Plug in. vCOPS is great, but wouldn’t it be better to be able to drill down into your StoreServ to see what it thinks is going on? With this addition, it gives you the complete view of your vSphere environment across all compute resources.
So to sum up my first impressions, HP Discover is a ‘business technical’ conference.