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Good quarter for HP storage not good enough for CEO Hurd

Hewlett-Packard’s storage division has taken its share of heat in recent years. It has often underachieved from a revenue standpoint, been knocked by competitors and analysts for lack of innovation, and been reorganized internally. Now it’s led by Dave Roberson, former Hitachi Data Systems (HDS) CEO and currently VP of HP’s enterprise storage business.

So what was the reaction of the storage group and upper management to a sharp hike in revenue from storage last quarter? Not what you might think.

“If there’s anybody taking a lap around the building, I sure haven’t seen him because we’ve got a lot more work to do to be a participant in the way that HP ought to be a participant in the storage market,” CEO Mark Hurd told analysts on the earnings conference call Wednesday night.

Ok, so no laps around the building. But HP did report storage revenue increased 14 percent year over year to just over $1 billion, led by a 17 percent gain in its midrange EVA and 21 percent improvement with its high-end XP [rebranded HDS] arrays. Still, Hurd says that’s only the start. He expects to attach storage to a higher percentage of ProLiant servers going forward, stronger adoption of new HP storage products and a return on some of the money it’s laid out on storage acquisitions in recent years.

“Listen, we can just do better than this,” he said. “We’ve got new product we’ve announced into the market during the quarter in the storage space that we are excited about. We’ve begun to bring together some of the acquisitions we’ve done and align some of our Storage Essentials software with our platforms. We are doing more work in the channel and it turned into good growth. I mean, for us to get mid-double-digit growth or 14% growth in the quarter is better than we’ve seen.”

I’m guessing the new product Hurd referred to was the ExDS9100 Web 2.0/NAS system HP unveiled with much fanfare this month although it also launched a new EVA in February. In any case, Hurd emphasized there is still work to be done, and he expects to see it get done: “I don’t want you for one minute to think we are satisfied with it [storage success].”

Hurd has accomplished many of his goals since he arrived at HP three years ago. Now we’ll see if he can complete a storage turnaround.

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