Q&A: Chris Johnson, EMEA VP of Storage at HP

We speak to the lead storage executive in Europe at HP's first Global Partner Conference to ask where his firm will take storage in 2012.

It is clear the message is our core business is infrastructure. The good news is we have developed storage, servers and networking to be disruptive.

I bumped into Dave Donatelli [executive vice president and general manager of enteprise storage, servers and netwokring at HP] in the corridor earlier and he is delighted. He did a great job of getting us where we are.

You can feel the ground swell with excitement of being back to HP core values.

What Meg [Whitman] adds to this is that focus back to the core values of HP, that we are an infrastructure company. Yes we have the software, yes we have the services and some great development around that... but we are a infrastructure company at our core.

It must be nice for the infrastructure guys to be centre of attention again after all these years?

Well, I am not a long term HP guy, but even in the nine months you can feel the ground swell with excitement of being back to HP core values. It feels great.

R&D-wise, are you guys looking to develop in-house more for storage in 2012?

There are going to be big things for 2012. I can't be too specific but we have a fantastic storage engineering team.

If you imagine the evolution from the traditional portfolio to the acquisitions coming in, there is a lot they are getting to grips with. But, some real groundbreaking stuff is coming, not just enhancements to this portfolio, but quite a lot of exciting stuff to get our teeth into.

Will the development still focus on cloud as it has in the past year?

I think we aim to be specialised in networking, servers and storage and deeply specialised because customers expect that, but it has to be integrated. That is what you are going to get from HP and that is why it feels exciting because I don't think a lot of other vendors get to do that. Expect some more from us in the next six months.

The focus on HP Labs is indeed exciting. Does that mean you don't need to go out and buy up any more companies?

Absolutely. We are engineering [what we have]. We are not really missing anything you can go out to buy.

What we have we will evolve and develop and that is the exciting bit. If you Google HP Labs, you will see a bunch of interesting stuff.

It will be a frenzied year in 2012. Expect a lot and hopefully when we next speak I can report a lot of growth.

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