HP: Buy Now to Prepare for the Upturn

Is it too early to begin planning for the economic recovery? HP doesn’t think so.

Instead, it’s making a case for enterprises to ramp up their spending on hardware.

Sound crazy? Not to Hewlett-Packard (NYSE: HPQ), which says that companies need to be ready because it’s during upheavals that the stars realign, old industry leaders fall from grace and new ones ascend to prominence. As a result, they’ll need new hardware to better position themselves as the economy recovers.

That’s the pitch as HP launches new products and services it says can pay off for companies as soon as the market rights itself.

“Decisions made in a down economy can be more important than decisions made in a growth economy,” Deb Nelson, a senior vice president of marketing for HP’s technology solutions group, told InternetNews.com.

She cited a study by the Corporate Executive Board that showed that in an economic downturn, a company can double its chance of changing its industry ranking — and if you get into the top 25 percent of your industry, you can sustain it for the next three years.

“Making the right decision is important because of the impact on your industry standings,” Nelson said. “This is an opportunity to address short-term cost concerns and change their industry standing long term, exit the downturn leaner and more competitive.”

HP is betting that businesses will respond to the message. The company is introducing two new virtual storage offerings, the StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array 6400 and 8400, which offer a third more density of storage while reducing costs by as much as 50 percent, Nelson said.

HP is also introducing the SAN Virtualization Platform 2.1, which uses thin provisioning to triple a customer’s current storage capacity. This storage software allows customers to triple capacity utilization of any vendor’s storage through thin provisioning, which aims to allocate resources efficiently based on what is needed by the application.

Finally, HP has updated its Data Protector software to act as a single solution across both physical and virtual environments, performing backups of both types of systems.

[cob:Special_Report]Even though it’s pitching the new offerings, Nelson urged companies to remain cautions in their spending, adding that indiscriminately shelling out lots of money isn’t going to position any player for greatness.

That might seem at odds with HP’s goal of moving more products, but the company said its own research found that the top firms in any industry spend only half as much as their industry average.

In other words, throwing money at the problem doesn’t fix it.

“It’s not about spending more, it’s about making the right choices and driving costs out,” Nelson said, pointing to standardization, optimization and consolidation as the best ways to cut expenses and complexity.

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