SNW - HP looks to simplify SANs for the little guy

HP will unveil new storage products targeted at small-to-medium enterprises at an upcoming trade show in Orlando.

HP is readying a trio of storage products targeted at small- to medium-sized businesses with growing data storage needs.

This week, it will introduce the HP StorageWorks SB40c blade storage device, the company's first c-Class line of storage devices using the blade form factor.

Also expected will be the StorageWorks VLS300 Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) Gateway, virtual tape technology for data backup and recovery in a storage area network (SAN). HP said the VLS300 offeredmore than 500TB of storage capacity and can back up more than 8TB of data per hour.

It is also introducing the StorageWorks EVA-4000 SAN Starter Kit, a storage area network management package that simplifies SAN setup and operation. The products are to be introduced at Storage Networking World, a storage industry trade show this week in Florida.

They were intended to help small- to medium-sized businesses that have growing data storage needs but whose IT administrators might be intimidated by the complexity of a storage network, BladeSystem group manager in HP's StorageWorks business, Steve Gillaspy, said.

The SB40c blade, which will be available by the middle of November, offers 876GB of direct-attached storage capacity, but in a blade form factor that takes up less space and uses less electricity in a data centre than rack-mounted storage devices. The list price of the SB40c began at $US1600, Gillaspy said.

The VLS300 EVA Gateway, for storing data on disks, allows customers to emulate up to 1024 tape drives and 128 libraries of data in a virtual environment.

And the 8TB of throughput was fast, director of SAN marketing at HP StorageWorks, Kyle Fitze, said: "In terms of performance and scalability, 8 terabytes means that multiple backup jobs can be done simultaneously."

The list price of the VLS300, which will be available in mid-November, starts at $US57,750.

The SAN Starter Kit offered automated SAN management through a centralized user interface for IT managers worried about the complexity of setting up a SAN, Fitze said.

The Starter Kit, which is offered at a starting price of $33,000, is designated as a Microsoft Simple SAN solution.

It also features an Emulex 4Gbps host bus adapter, which connects a server computer to a storage network, and will run on Emulex's EZPilot software.

The Starter Kit will also feature a Brocade Communications Systems SilkWorm Switch. By integrating the Emulex HBA and the Brocade switch, customers establishing their first SAN would be able to expand the network as their data needs grow, vice-president of software marketing for Emulex, Scott McIntyre, said.

"We view this market as a great opportunity," McIntyre said.

The virtual tape library gateway product is an important announcement from HP, research director for tape and removable storage at IDC, Robert Amatruda, said. Giving enterprises virtualised tape storage capability allows customers to store more data on their existing IT infrastructure.

"By offering the gateway, they offer a lot more flexibility to virtualise the back end of their SAN and leverage their existing infrastructure that they have written off the books already," Amatruda said.

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