HP debuts new AiO array for SMBs

By Kevin Komiega

—Hewlett-Packard continues to roll out new storage systems for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) with the latest addition to its family of All-in-One (AiO) disk arrays—the StorageWorks AiO1200. The AiO1200 combines file serving, shared storage, and data-protection features at a relatively low cost.

The high-density, 2U system can be configured with up to 12 disk drives in a mix of either Serial ATA (SATA) or Serial-Attached SCSI (SAS).

The All-in-One Storage Manager software now includes setup and migration wizard support for Microsoft Exchange 2007 so that users can move from direct-attached storage (DAS) to network storage in a few clicks of the mouse. The software is also capable of provisioning iSCSI storage for Windows Server 2003 hosts and includes additional setup and migration wizards that give administrators the ability to mix-and-match drive technologies to meet the requirements of different applications.

Harry Baeverstad, director of HP's StorageWorks SMB business unit, says SMBs account for more than half of his company's sales. "We're trying to raise the bar for what is required to compete in the SMB market," says Baeverstad.

Raising the bar in SMB storage, according to Baeverstad, requires developing higher-density network storage systems with greater performance while maintaining low prices.

To that end, the AiO1200 supports SATA and/or SAS drives for a maximum capacity of up to 9TB. An entry-level configuration offers about 3TB of storage for approximately $7,000.

"The AiO1200 can service a higher number of users for file serving and applications like Microsoft Exchange by supporting up to 1,500 Exchange mailboxes," says Baeverstad.

Given that HP is clearly focusing its SMB storage efforts on the AiO product line, it raises questions about the role of the company's Modular Smart Array (MSA) family of products, which once served as the centerpiece of HP's SMB storage portfolio. HP has maintained that the MSA line is still a fit for SMBs with certain requirements for performance and scalability, but it has become evident that the AiO is now the key to SMB storage for HP.

"I think that HP has to be politically correct about their existing products," says Tony Asaro, a senior analyst with the Enterprise Strategy Group consulting firm. "I feel that AiO is the unspoken replacement and, if I were HP, I would put my energies and resources behind the AiO for [smaller businesses]. The [medium-sized business market] is a little more complicated. The AiO addresses the smaller mid-size companies, while the Enterprise Virtual Array is better for the bigger companies."

Asaro believes the AiO technology may give HP an edge in the SMB storage market. "HP has taken a different approach by creating an ease-of-use experience around the AiO that the other vendors should take a page from," he says. "The AiO uses human language in its management console, it discovers servers and migrates the data from DAS to SAN, and it has built-in backup software."

This article was originally published on April 11, 2007