HP ships hybrid array

By Kevin Komiega

Hewlett-Packard was expected to re-double its efforts in the small to medium-sized business (SMB) storage market this month with shipments of a new line of hybrid arrays that promise block-based (SAN) and file-based (NAS) storage with integrated data protection in one box.

The new family of StorageWorks hardware, which had not been named at press time, 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,” according to 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 possibly 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 (see “Intel to sell entry-level EMC arrays,”InfoStor, May 2006, p. 1).

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 targets SMBs with hybrid array,” InfoStor, August 2006, p. 1). The goal is to combine iSCSI, SAN, and NAS into a single storage pool, and that can be managed from a 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 supports Microsoft’s iSCSI Software Initiator for IP SAN connectivity. The system can also use Silverback Systems’ iSNAP2110 iSCSI host bus adapter (HBA) initiator cards 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 hybrid array.

This article was originally published on September 01, 2006