HP previews hybrid array

By Kevin Komiega

—Hewlett-Packard plans to re-double its efforts in the storage market for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) later this year with a new line of hybrid systems that promise block-based (SAN) and file-based (NAS) storage with integrated data protection in one box.

The new family of StorageWorks hardware, which has yet to be named, will be based on Microsoft's Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 operating system and HP's ProLiant hardware with a new set of software tools for "those who don't understand storage," says Debbie Young, worldwide marketing manager for HP's StorageWorks division.

Young claims the new products will provide integrated data-protection features and redundancy with disk-based snapshot technology. A complete hardware and software solution will cost approximately $5,000 for a 1TB configuration.

HP estimates that up to 70% of SMBs still have not moved to networked storage. "Today's SMB products are great for SMBs that already understand storage," says Young, "[but] many small companies are staying with direct-attached storage because they understand it. You almost need an MBA in storage to make the simple move to networked storage today."

The announcement of the new product family raises questions about possible cannibalization of HP's current SMB storage products, most notably the iSCSI-based StorageWorks 1510i Modular Smart Array (MSA1510i). However, HP officials say that the new systems will complement the existing MSA arrays.

Aside from competing with its own portfolio, HP is competing with other major vendors for SMB storage dollars. For example, EMC and Intel announced a partnership earlier this year under which Intel is selling a line of entry-level storage arrays based on EMC's Clariion AX150 disk arrays.

And more recently, Network Appliance made its move into SMB storage with the launch of the StoreVault S500, which supports NAS, iSCSI SAN, and Fibre Channel SAN connectivity (see NetApp delivers hybrid array for SMBs). The goal is to combine iSCSI, SAN, and NAS into a single storage pool and make it manageable from a single, Windows-based user interface.

NetApp's S500 scales to 6TB and can be configured with either 250GB or 500GB Serial ATA (SATA) hard drives. The array will support Microsoft's iSCSI Software Initiator for IP SAN connectivity. The system can also use Silverback Systems' iSNAP2110 iSCSI host bus adapter (HBA) initiator card to boost TCP/IP speeds in iSCSI SAN environments.

NetApp's S500 is priced at $5,000 for a 1TB configuration, similar to HP's upcoming StorageWorks product.

This article was originally published on August 03, 2006