HP has an entertaining video of a rifle shot through an XP12000 array. I can’t tell if the narrator’s heavy gravitas delivery is meant to be slightly over the top, or if it really is humorless. But they have me wondering.

Over at The Storage Network blog Mario Apicella is wondering “what were they thinking?”

What are the most serious physical threats to your data center? I am sure that there is a survey published somewhere on this topic, but bear with me, I am too busy (lazy perhaps) to look for it.

However I would bet that the risk of your storage array being hit by a bullet is very low. Don’t you agree?

Which is why I found bizarre that HP went thru all the cost and the trouble to move an XP12000 to the National Technical Systems ballistics center in Camden, Arkansas, only to have the array shot in cold blood.

Now, I have complete faith in HP’s ability to wring the emotion or humor out of any marketing initiative. But this is a move in the right direction. Sure, when was the last time some gun-wielding nut started blasting away in your data center? And yet, when was the last time you heard the phrase “bullet-proof”?

HP has yet to recover from the gross stupidity of their OEM deal with EMC in the late ’90s (see HP’s Storage Grid-lock: panic-stricken execs promise fix in four years). The word on the street is that new CEO Mark Hurd, formerly of storage company Teradata has given the storage group a mandate to go win back market share and has relieved them of HP’s corporate “tax” in their investment decisions. New Marketing Chief Cathy Lyons is clearly encouraging the group to make a more emotional appeal to customers, something she learned hawking HP printers to everyone.

With all due respect to Mario, it is important for HP’s storage group to break out of the Devo-like robotone they’ve adopted as their corporate voice. One of the most common myths among engineers is that customers, even highly technical ones, make purchase decisions based on the careful evaluation of rational criteria. Uh, no.

Demos like the head shot to the XP12000 are vital to changing the comfort level of HP customers. Well done.