HP Dell, target SMBs with storage offerings

HP Dell, target SMBs with storage offerings

Hewlett-Packard and Dell on Monday announced new storage products aimed at making network-centric storage more attractive to the small and medium-sized business (SMB) marketplace.

Dell on Monday will begin shipping a replacement for its 1U (1.76 inch) rack-mounted PowerVault 725N network-attached storage (NAS) server, called the 745N. In addition to a faster processor speed, the 745N will have a capacity of 4T bytes of SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) attached storage -- four times the limit of the 725 -- and will include snapshot software that will allow customers to easily back up and restore the system.

The 745N runs Microsoft Corp.'s Windows Storage Server 2003, and will be available with between 160G bytes and 4T bytes of storage, and Celeron or Pentium 4 processors ranging up to 3.2GHz.

Also on Monday, HP announced plans to widen its networked storage offerings for SMBs. "We're seeing explosive growth in data. This is impacting small businesses as well," said Kyle Fitze, the director of product marketing for online storage with HP. "With these new products and technologies we can finally deliver that efficiency of storage management and deployment to a new class of customers," he said.

By July of this year, HP plans to begin shipping a new member of its Modular Smart Array line of networked storage arrays for small and medium-sized business that will be based on the Serial ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment) interconnect. Serial ATA works with inexpensive drives, but still allows users to "hot plug" new drives without turning off the array. It also has an architecture that makes it work well with large pools of data storage, according to Fitze. "We thought that this technology could be leveraged very nicely to an entry-level SAN environment," he said.

If HP can help users deploy easy-to-use, inexpensive SAN arrays using Serial ATA, it might have some success selling to the SMB market, said John McArthur, an analyst with research firm IDC. To date, SMBs have been slow to adopt SANs because of the high cost of the Fibre Channel drives most commonly used by SANs, he said.

Also in the works is a new HP StorageWorks B-series line of SAN switches, based on 8-port and 16-port Fibre Channel switches from Brocade Communications Systems Inc., as well as a tape autoloader, capable of storing six 72G-byte data cartridges, called the DAT 72x6.

The DAT 72x6 will be available later this month, starting at US$2,799. When the B-series switches begin shipping in April, an 8-port model will cost US$5,000. Customers will pay US$12,500 for a 16-port model.

Fitze declined to reveal details on HPs upcoming Serial ATA array.

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