The Business

HP Partner Focus, Garry Veale | Video Interview

If you don’t think of HP for storage, think again: nearly half of all the disk drives manufactured worldwide are sold by HP. 

Garry Veale runs HP’s storage division, StorageWorks, in EMEA. He has more than 20 years’ experience in the IT and storage industry, including stints at both EMC and IBM and joined HP in May 2009 from COPAN, where he was global head of sales and services. Ahead of StorageExpo, he spoke to IT Expert about the challenges facing small and mid-sized companies in dealing with the growing data mountain and the opportunities for HP partners.


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IT Expert: Why is data storage so much more a key issue for businesses now?

Garry Veale: There are multiple drivers for this. Generically, there is the digitisation of information: whether it’s pictures or voice, everything is becoming digital. There are other drivers in the economy, such as compliance, data retention records… the whole competitive area of customer service, customer records, customer logs. That is really driving data exponentially.

ITX: And dealing with that is a significant problem these days?

GV: If you talk to businesses, information management is one of the top of mind questions they have to face. It is a large part of their budget; it is in the top one or two areas that businesses have to get a grip on. And they don’t have the same resources or budgets as the enterprise.

ITX: You have said that enterprises were in the ‘first wave’ of storage growth, and that SMEs face the ‘next wave’. So does storage offer a real business opportunity for IT consultants, resellers and the wider channel?

GV: A large portion of our storage business with SME customers is handled through distribution and resellers. As this market moves to that next wave of storage growth, our channel partners will continue to play a key role in expanding HP Storage in the SME space.

ITX: So how is HP helping the channel provide higher-end (if not higher cost) storage to SMEs?

VG: HP has a very strong specialisation programme which ensures that our resellers are technically skilled to sell the right solution for mid-to-high end businesses, along with a strong focus on sales competencies to position these solutions with their customers.

ITX: What’s the role for services in storage: will HP allow partners to resell its equipment or storage services, for example?

GV: Our partners can differentiate themselves with selling their own services together with HP hardware. For partners that don’t have those skills, yes, we also give them the option to resell HP services.

ITX: Should VARs and IT consultants be pushing storage virtualisation and management higher up the agenda, especially for clients who have already virtualised servers?

GV: We recognise the importance of virtualisation to IT infrastructure. We have a virtualisation specialisation within our channel program, for example. The program recognises that our customers are not just focused on one aspect of virtualization.
We set out to help our partners, to help our customers, with virtualisation from the desktop and application level, all the way to their storage requirements. By the third quarter of 2009, we already had over 300 partners who specialise in the virtualisation. Channel partners should focus their investments on skilling pre-sales and sales forces around the cost-benefits of virtualisation technologies.

ITX: What’s HP doing to make storage suit the real needs of smaller businesses?

GV: We’ve a long history of working with SMEs. We’ve a whole business offering for the market: Simply StorageWorks. What we’ve tried to do is tackle some of the issues that IT management are asking us for: ‘integrated solutions that we don’t have to put together ourselves’. We’ve designed solutions around data protection and consolidation. 



Online Resources

HP StorageWorks MSA2000 Best Practices

Integrating entry-level and mid-range HP StorageWorks SAN products:

HP Simply Storage Consolidation

Understand the options for integrating shared storage for file serving and application data with HP StorageWorks products:

Storage Appliances
One way SMEs might deal with a growing storage mountain is deploying standalone, network attached storage (NAS) systems. But many of these are based around proprietary architectures. HP’s approach is slightly different, building a range of storage servers around its industry-standard, X86 Proliant server lines but optimised for disk capacity and i/o throughput.

HP’s X1000 and X3000 Network Storage Systems, for example, house up to 12 drive units in a single, rack-dense server chassis, making them easy to deploy and maintain.

For businesses looking for a simplified approach to SAN architecture, HP also offers the P4000 SAN, based on technology acquired from LeftHand Networks. This has the advantage of running over the lower-cost, Ethernet-based iSCSI networking, rather than Fibre Channel. The company also offers its D2D backup systems in an appliance-based format.

“HP sees significant benefits for customers in converging storage and server technologies,’

explains Veale. Customers benefit from HP’s ability to integrate [new] software developments quickly into simple to install and simple to operate storage solutions without the pain of complex integration.”

HP also offers what it terms ‘Solution Blocks’: pre-configured packages of hardware and software which are easy to set up and offer much shorter sales cycles than conventional, single products.

In the current economic climate, channel partners are successfully selling HP’s branch office solution block, for example, which is finding favour among retailers and other companies who are asking their IT partners for ways to simplify their systems and to drive out costs.


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