LAS VEGAS -- Making storage management simpler and more affordable is the biggest issue for the more than 50,000 members in Hewlett-Packard's new Connect user group, said Connect directors at HP Tech Forum.
Connect president Nina Buik, senior vice president of MindIQ in Atlanta, and director Steve Davidek, who manages storage as part of his role as systems administrator for the city of Sparks, Nev., said they expect the storage Special Interest Group (SIG) meeting Thursday to be the best attended of 15 SIG meetings scheduled for this week at Tech Forum. Connect was formed earlier this year through a merger of Encompass, ITUG and HP-Interex EMEA HP user groups.
Although HP is known more for other product areas, storage touches a large percentage of HP shops. "Storage crosses all of HP's boundaries," Davidek said. "You have to have storage to tie it all together."
And what do HP storage users want? "The bottom line is, when I go to work in the morning, I want my storage there. And if not, I want to know why I can't get to my storage. I want it easy to manage and economical," Davidek said.
"Two-thirds of the customers I talked to don't know how much data they have and what their utilization is," Eitenbichler said. "Most storage customers are fighting a daily fire. They wake up on Friday morning and have 1 TB too little of storage to make it through the weekend. That's what they're concerned with."
Davidek considers the user groups an effective way to share best practices and tips. He said his current storage setup, two EVA 4000s, resembles the storage infrastructure diagram drawn up on a cocktail napkin four years ago at HP Tech Forum by an HP customer with a great deal of storage experience. "And that's where I am today in storage," he said, referring to the napkin diagram. "That's what makes this [user interaction] so exciting."
Davidek is looking forward to getting hands-on experience with the new EVA 4400 at the show while he dreams of getting money in his budget to upgrade. "I can touch it, it's not just a PowerPoint, it's hands on," he said. "Our users are so busy doing what they can with what they have, they don't get a chance to see all this otherwise."
Connect wants to increase social networking among HP users, Buik said. The Connect website will include a people finder where customers can create a profile detailing the products they use and see others who have similar setups. "We're going to make our community voice heard," she said. "Community voice has its tentacles in everything we do," Davidek added. "We want to make sure everybody who's saying the same thing is saying that same thing to HP."