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More Nimble, HPE storage revenue jumps 24%

Hewlett Packard Enterprise storage sales rebounded last quarter, thanks to the addition of Nimble Storage and an improvement of the 3PAR SAN platform.

HPE storage revenue of $948 million grew 24% year-over-year last quarter. That’s not quite as impressive as it sounds, because most of that growth came from Nimble, which HPE had not yet acquired a year ago. Still, HPE storage increased 11% in apples-to-apples comparison from a year ago – matching the growth of HPE’s overall revenue in the quarter.

That follows five percent growth in HPE storage revenue last quarter. In the first two quarters of last year, HPE storage revenue declined year-over-year.

HPE’s flagship 3PAR storage array line rebounded after the vendor brought 3PAR and Nimble sales team together into one group. The 3PAR revenue increased a few percentage points last quarter. In the previous earnings report, outgoing CEO Meg Whitman called 3PAR sales “soft.”

Antonio Neri stepped up from HPE president to replace Whitman as CEO this month.

“This was a good quarter for us in storage,” Neri said Thursday night on the HPE earnings call. “Obviously we have the Nimble numbers, but our organic storage grew 11 percent. In previous calls we talked about execution challenges in our go-to-market, particularly in the United States. So this was all about focus and execution.”

Besides bringing more revenue, the Nimble deal gave HPE storage the InfoSight predictive analytics technology. HPE now uses InfoSight in all of its storage arrays, brining artificial intelligence into systems monitoring and management.

Neri called InfoSight “a game changer for our storage business and is a major step on our journey to an autonomous data center.”

Flash was another driver for HPE storage growth. HPE execs said all-flash array revenue increased 16% year-over-year. While that’s less of a spike than other large vendors are gaining from flash – NetApp’s all-flash sales increased 50% last quarter – it shows flash is increasingly driving enterprise storage sales.

“We expect to see solid continued performance in storage,” Neri said.

HPE also said its hyper-converged inftrastructure revenue grew more than 200% over last year. That’s also misleading, because HPE hyper-convergence is based on its acquisition of SimpliVity in January 2017. HPE did have a hyper-converged product before SimpliVity but had little success with it, so most of the revenue  comes from a product HPE did not have year ago. Neri said the hyper-competitive hyper-convergence market is now an area HPE is placing a great deal of focus on.

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