Storage Software Q&A With Chris Schin of HPE

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Storage software technology continues to undergo rapid shifts. As enterprises’ data needs multiply, storage providers have scaled their software products, so customers can optimize their data and modernize their infrastructure.

Storage software is helping companies employ technologies like hybrid cloud to store, analyze, and recover data from both on-premises and cloud environments — without having to give up either. Enterprise Storage Forum interviewed Chris Schin of HPE, who shares his perspective on storage software and the storage market overall.

Chris Schin.
Chris Schin. Courtesy HPE.

Chris Schin

Schin is the VP of cloud data services at HPE Storage and responsible for helping lead HPE’s transformation through cloud storage, software, and services. He joined HPE via the 2021 acquisition of CloudPhysics, where Schin served as chief product officer. He has over 20 years of executive-level product management in the SaaS, storage, and cloud storage markets for startups and established Fortune “500” companies.

The storage software market

Enterprise Storage Forum: How did you first start working in the storage market?

Back in 2005, Symantec recruited me to lead its cloud and SaaS transformation. We were tasked with delivering services in traditional software markets, and online backup and disaster recovery was our first step.

Enterprise Storage Forum: What is your favorite thing about working at HPE?

Starting with HPE’s CEO to every level of our company, everyone recognizes that the future is hybrid and is committed to delivering the best hybrid cloud experience for customers. This level of commitment across a company is unlike anything I have ever experienced, and I believe it’s a harbinger of success.

Enterprise Storage Forum: What sets HPE’s storage approach or solutions apart from the competition?

HPE’s storage business encompasses the broadest range of storage offerings in the market and brings forth the right balance of performance and reliability that customers require. We are enabling massive agility for customers as we continue to expand solutions available as a service through the HPE GreenLake edge-to-cloud platform.

Enterprise Storage Forum: What is one storage software technique that teams should implement?

IT departments and storage admins should be looking for the same self-provisioning and flexibility of the cloud but behind their own firewall. By maintaining their own assets via a private cloud operations experience, IT can unlock economies of scale for internal and external end users and ensure cloud economics and security are in the best interest of their company.

Enterprise Storage Forum: What is the biggest storage mistake you see enterprises making?

It’s been said in one form or another that companies would be smart to start in the cloud but a fool to scale in the cloud. While that might go too far, it’s still true that scaling in the public cloud is expensive, and so is the decision to stop scaling and migrate data back in-house. Hybrid cloud can offer the best of both worlds to mitigate the cost, while still maintaining the simplicity and agility of public cloud operational experience.

Enterprise Storage Forum: What are some current trends in the storage software market that are promising?

HPE recognized early that the future is hybrid, and the market is realizing that hybrid cloud is the winning model for large IT organizations. What’s shifting is how the underlying storage and data infrastructure is built to be cloud-native and delivered as a service.

Enterprise Storage Forum: How has storage software changed during your time in the market?

I started in the storage market in the early 2000s, and the internet was inefficient as a data pipeline. For example, at that time, online backup and disaster recovery wasn’t a thing. Today, the internet is used every day as a data conduit. We’re seeing software-defined storage become a reality across different storage workloads, and remote backup and disaster recovery is largely dominated by internet-enabled technologies. The transformational impact of the internet, and software on storage hardware, is changing how we manage and leverage data within our organizations.

Enterprise Storage Forum: Where do you predict the storage software market will be 5 or 10 years from now?

What we’ve seen — and it’s backed by data — is that the most successful enterprises mine insights from their existing data. Storage and data infrastructure solutions will continue to facilitate the organization of disparate data and the resulting insights will inform strategic planning for the most successful enterprises in the next 5 to 10 years.

Personnel in storage software

Enterprise Storage Forum: If you could give one piece of advice to a storage professional in the beginning of their career, what would it be?

I started my career in startups. Looking back, I’d advise tech professionals to seek opportunities with larger, established companies early in their careers, because the existing talent, experience, and expertise will provide a deep well for young professionals to drink from. The lessons you learn and experience from those who have charted paths before you will guide you as you chart your own path, whether that’s with a startup or a Fortune “500” leader.

Enterprise Storage Forum: With the shortage of tech talent, how is your team finding and retaining professionals to work in storage?

HPE’s heritage goes back more than 70 years, and there is commitment from nearly everyone here to ensure HPE is relevant for the next 70 years. We continually offer a place for visionaries that want to innovate and explore new ideas and that is a strong value proposition at any point in a person’s career.

Work life

Enterprise Storage Forum: What is one of your top professional accomplishments?

With CloudPhysics, I had the honor of going from startup to successful exit when we were acquired by HPE. It will always be rewarding to be a part of a startup’s successful exit.

Enterprise Storage Forum: What is one of your favorite parts of the work week? How does it encourage or inspire you?

Each week, I sponsor a product management interlock that is focused on HPE’s as-a-service transformation. The meeting is 50 people strong with the talented minds in our storage business, and the collaboration and open dialogue makes the meeting a relaxing space to breathe and explore.

Enterprise Storage Forum: Do you have a favorite way to recharge during the workday?

I’ve been building an office from scratch in my backyard. I’ve gone from pouring the foundation to putting on doors and windows. Creating my office is a tremendous escape and makes me ponder what would have been if I’d followed my family’s legacy path, which would have led me to the construction industry.

Learn more about HPE’s storage management portfolio.

Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps
Jenna Phipps is a staff writer for Enterprise Storage Forum and eSecurity Planet, where she covers data storage, cybersecurity and the top software and hardware solutions in the storage industry. She’s also written about containerization and data management. Previously, she wrote for Webopedia. Jenna has a bachelor's degree in writing and lives in middle Tennessee.

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