HP wonít talk about futures ?
HP appears to have a corporate policy of not talking about futures. At a recent event I was advised that the legal department is involved in the release of some documents and routinely prevents any forward looking content from being released, whether reasonable or not. That has to change.
This policy must change or be adapted for Networking at least. Potential customers will need assurance that HP have a roadmap, that new features are being developed and to see and validate projected timelines. I certainly donít care that HP Legal doesnít like it; I need to see the strategy, the forward plan and the vision. I regularly receive forward looking briefings from Cisco Account Managers who are happy to brief on the forward roadmap. Network Architects regularly receive NDA briefings from Cisco and other vendors that show the proposed releases for features and products for up to five years (although three years is more common).
At OracleWorld HP took the stand at the keynote and said effectively nothing forward looking. Was this because the legal department stopped them from talking about futures ? Looks like it.
And again last week at the Network Tech Field Day, HP failed to give us any insight in the future of their data centre strategy. And previously at the HP Tech Day in Sacramento the same thing happened.
What drives my problem ?
Consider a data centre network. The core switches are commonly purchased during a build out and deployed. The Network Team will only replace or upgrade those switches when needed, and often they will last the life of the data centre of five years. A Core switch is a vital component in the service levels for the entire data centre, no core network, no service. Therefore the purchasing decision of the core switch requires a good understanding of the future roadmap. Without confidence, other vendors will be more appealing.
Second, networks are commonly built in pieces, not in a single large purchase but become a shared resource. That is, the network is not a single unit, and pieces are constantly changing in an organic way as projects fund and deploy elements (thanks to the stupid ITIL processes and idiot MBA managers). Unlike servers, and to a lesser extent – storage, networks are a fully shared resource and equipment rarely belongs to a single application. Networkers buy pieces of the design to fit an overall architecture.
The EtherealMind View
HP must be transparent about roadmaps and strategies with their customers and partner. If I donít know what the product futures look like, Iím not going to have confidence that this is the right choice. Without that confidence, Iím much less likely to consider HP Networking as a good choice.
If HP canít spell out itís plan for the future, Iím going to assume it doesnít have one. Thatís the only conclusion I can make. This needs to change today. Get the bureaucracy out of the way, and focus on your customers. We need to know what’s happening.