Entry-level storage makes cents

Hewlett-Packard is extending is range of servers for the SME sector with the addition of MSA1500 (Modular Smart Array).

Based on the Serial ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment) interconnect, the MSA1500 will bring storage costs to less than one cent per megabyte, according to Ian Selway, HP Australia product marketing manager of network storage solutions.

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 Kyle Fitze, the director of product marketing for online storage with HP. "We thought that this technology could be leveraged very nicely to an entry-level SAN environment," he said.

Selway, who said HP had made significant inroads in the SME sector with its Proliant servers, said many small business were accustomed to buying servers then adding in storage.

Many small business operators had tended to shy away from storage, which had a perception of being difficult and complicated to do. It's recognising that while a SAN is complex, it's not out of reach for SMEs, he said.

The growth of Serial ATA drives have cuts costs so there's the opportunity to use external storage with confidence.

He said the new solution, which responded to demand for a lower cost storage array, will give heterogeneous connectivity in SANs to Windows, Linux and Novell and could scale up to 6Tb.

External storage, Selway said, lets you separate server and storage decisions.

Entry price for the MSA1500 is around $18,000 depending on negotiating ability, Selway said, adding that customers are "good at negotiating at the moment".

If HP can help users deploy easy-to-use, inexpensive SAN arrays using Serial ATA, it might have some success selling to the SME market, said John McArthur, an analyst with research firm IDC. To date, SMEs 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 72Gbyte data cartridges, called the DAT 72x6.

Storage indicators

Trying to decide about storage purchases? Ask yourself these questions, says Ian Selway, HP Australia product marketing manager of network storage solutions:

  • Are you changing your infrastructure because of the amount or type of data you need to store?
  • Are you concerned about the impact on storage of compliance regulations that are being imposed on your business?
  • Is storage technology costing you more than your servers?

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