HP Aims Low for SMBs

NEW YORK — Imagine you’re a CIO for a small or medium-sized business and you need to handle data created in storage area network (SAN) and network-attached storage (NAS).

In the past, you’d have to get different devices to handle SAN and NAS. You’d also need systems administrators who know how to configure the different machines.

Not anymore.

Fulfilling a promise made in July, HP on Monday introduced its StorageWorks All-in-One (AiO) storage systems family, a new line of data servers that combines iSCSI SAN, NAS and data protection in one machine to manage Microsoft environments, such as Exchange and SQL Server.

Harry Baeverstad, director of NAS in HP’s StorageWorks division, said during a press event here that the AiO400 and AiO600 are great for companies that don’t have big budgets but still find their data growth spiraling out of control as e-mail counts soar in Exchange systems.

The AiO systems can begin deploying storage on the network after a 7-step installation process that takes roughly 20 minutes, he added.

In another example of AiO ease-of-use, customers with minimal IT experience can set up, configure, provision, protect and migrate shared storage for an Exchange mailstore in about 10 clicks, eliminating several more steps that are usually required for such tasks.

“The IP [intellectual property] we’ve been developing over the last three years is really allowing the IT administrator in the SMB to deploy storage in the context of the application,” Baeverstad said.

This simplicity addresses a key pain point SMBs have; IDC says more than 60 percent of SMBs (which typically include 1,000 employees or fewer and have only a handful of IT workers on hand) have shied away from traditional networked storage, because it’s too costly and time-consuming to implement.

“It’s not that they don’t want to invest,” said Ovum Summitt analyst Mary Johnston Turner, who hosted a customer panel at the event. “They want to spend their money wisely.”

HP believes the first machines in the line will be game-changing alternatives to products from Network Appliance, EMC, Dell and IBM in a lucrative SMB space market IDC believes will top $5.7 billion by 2010.

However, with the AiO line, HP is taking a gamble.

HP is already one of the top players in the SMB space for storage, selling its Modular Smart Array (MSA) storage line with great success.

The price range of the new AiO machines could cannibalize HP’s MSA line in some accounts, replacing them with products that are easier to install and less expensive.

Baeverstad said HP is confident this won’t happen, noting that there are enough differences between the AiO and MSA lines that will appeal to different customers. For example, the MSA line boasts an active failover feature; the AiO does not.

To that end, the AiO400 slides into a rack, comes with four SATAdrives and stores up to one terabyte of data for $5,000.

The higher-end AiO600 comes in a rack and in a tower configuration, has six SASor SATA drives and stores 1.5TB or 3TB of SATA or 876 gigabytes of SAS for $6,700, $9,000 and $9,250, respectively.

HP has integrated its StorageWorks Data Protector Express software with the machines to back up and recover data from tape, virtual tape, optical or external disks.

The AiO systems also run Windows Storage Server 2003 R2, which triggers data replication between systems.

The machines are available now and will be sold primarily through HP’s 145,000 channel resellers.

Article courtesy of InternetNews.com

Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton
Clint Boulton is an Enterprise Storage Forum contributor and a senior writer for CIO.com covering IT leadership, the CIO role, and digital transformation.
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