HP array targets SMBs

By Kevin Komiega

For most users, the term all-in-one invokes the image of a device that handles printing, imaging, and fax functions. You probably have one in your home office. But Hewlett-Packard is out to change what small and medium-sized business (SMB) users perceive as an all-in-one device to include network storage with the launch of its StorageWorks All-in-One (AiO) line of storage systems.

The disk arrays feature integrated NAS and iSCSI SAN support with a suite of data-protection software for less than $5,000 for a 1TB configuration. Beyond the hardware, HP claims it has made deploying, and migrating to, network storage as easy as setting up a printer.

According to Debbie Young, worldwide marketing manager for SMB solutions in HP’s StorageWorks division, SMB customers understand the benefits of moving to network storage and the costs involved, but that’s not why HP says an estimated 60% of SMB customers still use direct-attached storage.

“The biggest inhibitor to SMB adoption is that network storage is still too complex for them,” says Young. “Most SMBs are working at the application level, and setting up LUNs and configuring RAID sets are an entirely different world to them.”

HP claims that its management interface, the All-in-One Storage Manager, allows users to set up shared storage for Exchange and SQL Server environments and begin actively serving files, ­expanding data areas, implementing disk and tape backup policies, and creating file shares in less than 30 minutes via a series of setup wizards.

Dianne McAdam, director of enterprise information assurance at the Clipper Group research and consulting firm, says HP’s new approach to SMB storage is a step in the right direction.

“Too many times you see large vendors dumb down enterprise products for the SMB market, but they usually end up with a complicated storage product with holes in it,” says McAdam. “HP started from the ground level so you don’t have to know how to configure storage.”

The HP AiO runs Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 and supports iSCSI.

A full version of the StorageWorks Data Protector Express Software is integrated into the All-in-One systems to enable backup and recovery to and from tape, virtual tape, optical, or external disk systems. The AiO Storage Systems also use the built-in data movement features of Storage Server 2003 R2 to replicate data from one system to another for disaster-recovery purposes.

SMB customers can choose from a range of capacity points across two models-the AiO400 and AiO600.

An AiO400 with four Serial ATA (SATA) drives and a raw capacity of 1TB is priced from $5,000. Its bigger brother, the AiO600, comes in both rack and tower form factors with six SATA or Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) drive bays for capacities ranging from 876GB (SAS) to 3TB (SATA). Prices range from $6,700 to $9,250.

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.

More recently, Network Appliance made its move into the SMB space with the launch of the StoreVault S500, which supports NAS, iSCSI SAN, and Fibre Channel SAN connectivity.

NetApp’s S500 scales to 6TB and can be configured with either 250GB or 500GB SATA drives. The array supports Microsoft’s iSCSI Software Initiator for IP SAN connectivity.

The system can also be configured with Silverback Systems’ iSNAP2110 iSCSI host bus adapter (HBA) cards to boost performance.

NetApp’s S500 is priced at $5,000 for a 1TB configuration, similar to HP’s StorageWorks All-in-One product.

This article was originally published on November 01, 2006