HDS tapping UK storage demand

I caught up with the head of Hitachi Data Systems in the UK this week: Steve Murphy. A Scot with almost 25 years experience in the industry including stints at Oracle, Sun, Fujitsu and EMC, he knows a thing or two about big systems. He also accused me of having more than a passing resemblance to Alan Shearer — I think I’ll assume that’s meant as a compliment!

Anyway Murphy came in to lead the UK operation at Hitachi Data Systems around 18 months ago. He reckons the business was in decent shape then, but is doing even better now it’s a little more focused on the task in hand. But does he see any evidence of a slowdown in spending in the UK market yet? …[click continue reading below for more on this entry]…

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Me?

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Alan Shearer?

“We’re not seeing a slowdown, but we are seeing companies exercising caution,” Murphy said . “That can actually work in our favour, because many are cautious about continuing to spend on storage in the way that they have in the past. We can offer them solutions that mean they don’t need to spend any extra money on storage for three years: that’s a powerful message in this climate.”

He’s talking of course about virtualisation technology, with its ability to get higher utilisation rates from existing storage kit. While VMware is the undisputed leader today in server virtualisation, Murphy claims that HDS is the leader in storage virtualisation (a claim IBM would surely reject).

Anyway, with virtualisation, as well as modular storage systems, and software like dynamic provisioning and storage resource management, Murphy says the firm is ideally placed to take market share in the £3.5bn UK storage market. Murphy points to analyst figures that suggested HDS grew market share worldwide from 34 to 38%, while its nearest rivals, EMC and IBM, actually dropped 4% and 2% respectively. “We’re accelerating even faster than that in the UK,” Murphy told me.

As well as focusing on the products that most meet the needs of its customers, Murphy has doubled HDS’ channel business in the UK, although he also ditched a number of channel partners that weren’t a good fit or were not doing the business for HDS.

Another driver for HDS’ business in the UK is compliance, according to Murphy. “With Euro-SOX in October this year, MiFID in March next year and the FSA taking more and more control around the regulation of data, compliance is something companies can’t ignore,” he said. “Finance need more and more control over their data, and we can give them a single pane of glass that gives them the whole view of all of their data, regardless of which system it’s physically located on.”

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