HP Brings NAS to Microsoft Exchange

E-mail is the communications medium businesses love to hate. According to The Radicati Group, a Palo Alto, Calif.-based research firm, the average corporate e-mail user processes 10 MB of e-mail a day. That is expected to increase to 15.8 MB per user, per day by 2008.

So how does a business, especially a small or mid-size business, keep its e-mail servers from getting clogged up? In a move to help SMBs better store and retrieve e-mail, HP today announced a Windows-based network-attached storage (NAS) system designed to consolidate Exchange Server 2003 data on Windows Storage Server 2003-powered NAS systems. That way, businesses can back up and store data from file, print and e-mail servers on a single NAS device.

More specifically, HP said its StorageWorks NAS 1200s and 2000s will now support Microsoft’s Exchange Server 2003 Feature Pack. Prices begin at $2,495 for the 1200s and $5,800 for the 2000s. The announcement came at Microsoft’s Tech ED 2004 conference in San Diego.

“Just storage is not enough for SMBs. Now they can consolidate print, file and Exchange. Previously, they would have needed multiple servers — they would have needed a SAN,” Harry Baeverstad, director of Network Attached Storage, HP Enterprise
Storage and Servers said. HP claims that by implementing its new NAS offering, SMBs can consolidate servers by as much as 50 percent. Baeverstad described HP’s new NAS offering as a “radically simple approach to handle an explosion in data.”

Storing e-mail data is one thing, retrieving it quickly if you need to is another. “With compliance issues related to HIPAA and Sarbanes-Oxley, you may some day need to be able find one e-mail in a million,” Baeverstad said. To offer a context-based recovery capability for StorageWorks NAS systems, Baeverstad said, HP will partner with CommVault Systems, an Oceanport, N.J.-based data management software company.

The CommVault QiNetix Small & Medium Business Edition for HP StorageWorks NAS software suite is available for HP StorageWorks NAS 1200s and 2000s devices and is designed to protect consolidated Exchange server and file server data hosted on HP NAS devices, migrate Exchange server data to secondary storage, use HP NAS systems as a target for disk-to-disk-tape backup for existing Exchange servers, and deploy HP NAS as a target for Exchange server e-mail.

The add-on software is available either directly from CommVault or HP’s channel partners with prices starting at $2,495.

To help resellers better serve the SMB market, HP also announced that it is bringing its Easy-as-NAS program to the U.S. A joint initiative with Microsoft, the program offers sales and services training, product launch events, business plan development, partner collateral and funding as well as trade-in and buy-and-try programs. The Easy-as-NAS pilot program has been underway with channel partners in HP’s Europe, the Middle East and Africa (EMEA) region.

With other storage vendors such as EMC now targeting the SMB market, Baeverstad said HP’s long-standing relationship with Microsoft is a key differentiator. To offer the interoperability needed to make NAS realistic for small companies, “our products — laptops, desktops, servers and storage — are architected to work together. HP and Microsoft create a consistent look.” Baeverstad also pointed to price differences between EMC and HP’s NAS offerings, referring to EMC’s $6,100 NetWin 110 system announced last week.

When it comes to storage and SMBs, HP isn’t at the very top of buyers’ minds, but it’s close. According to a recent survey of SMBs by Forrester Research, HP was second only to Dell when respondents were asked which brands they were most likely to consider when making storage purchases. IBM was third followed by EMC.

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com’s Small Business Channel and EarthWeb’s Networking & Communications Channel.

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