HP. Not Perfect, but Trying!

I like HP. They make a good product at a competitive price and most importantly they stand behind what they sell. I’m not going to get into details about my job or our server environment ect ect but I do want to relay a couple of things that have helped to cement my position on HP.

Shortly after I was hired on at the company I work for my boss and I (we’re a very large IT department…) were asked to get a server in house and prepared to host a new application in 10 days. Quite a tall order. We looked into a number of server from Dell, IBM, HP ect ect and settled on getting an HP ML 350 G5. We placed a call to HP sales and begin to talk to the person about our needs and the kind of use the machine would see. With the help of our rep we zeroed in on the hardware we needed. One thing we chose to do though was to go with SATA hard drives instead of the faster (and exponentially more expensive) SAS drives. Our rep reccomended we go with SAS but we didn’t listen. I manage hundreds of users abroad but our central office has only about 30 users. We were looking to host an internal app that would be accessed by maybe 10 people at most so we didn’t think using the SATA drives would be a problem. Boy were we wrong.

As it turns out HP takes a very conservative position on the usefulness of SATA drives in their servers. The way they see it the drives cannot be trusted to use any cache whatsoever which greatly reduces the speed of the drives. Down from a typical 30-40MBps to something closer to 3-4MBps. Not acceptable at all for a server designed to host 10 virtual machines. We spoke with HP’s tech support about the slow performance and we tried to find a way to force the drives to perform as well as a standard desktop SATA drive would but HP offers no solution… did I mention their conservative position?

So, what were we supposed to do? We have a $6000 server that was not capable of performing the duties for which we bought it. I placed a call back to our sales person at HP, explained the issue to her and told her we would not be buying any more HP hardware until this issue was fixed.

Within 2 days we had 2 300GB 15,000RPM SAS drives in our server free of charge. When I explained the issue she immediately sent a request out to some mystical HP department called ‘Customer First’ to find out what HP would be willing to do. She got the free drives approved and overnighted to us and I didn’t have to make a single phone call about it. Keep in mind that our sales rep told us from the get go that we would need SAS drives and we didn’t listen.

Needless to say: I’m thrilled and I can assure you that I will be buying much more hardware from HP in the future. If we had bought those drives ourselves it would have cost us $2100, plus shipping. HP went above and beyond for us and I’m sure ate all of the profit they had made on our original sale.


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