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HP adds to low-end storage line

Next week, the company plans to announce a cheaper version of its Windows-powered network-attached storage line, which is geared to midsized businesses and remote departments.

Hewlett-Packard plans on Tuesday to present an update to its low-end networked storage line, with new models priced as much as $5,000 below current products.

The revamping of the Network Attached Storage (NAS) line ushers in three StorageWorks NAS 1000S machines that use Microsoft's Windows operating system tailored for storage gear. HP is pitching the trio at small and midsized businesses, along with remote offices that want to move into networked storage.

The list price for the 320GB StorageWorks NAS 1000S is $2,999, with a 640GB model priced at $4,999 and a 1 terabyte machine at $6,999. The new models fit below HP's existing low-end system, the StorageWorks B2000, which starts at $7,995 for 500GB but can be expanded to 18 terabytes.

Palo Alto, Calif.-based HP has been a key ally of Microsoft in its two-year-old bid to crack the storage market. Last winter, the two companies teamed up for a road show touting the benefits of using Windows to run networked storage gear.

HP said the new 1000S line is cheaper than its B2000 series in part because it uses less-costly ATA drives than the SCSI disks used in the earlier StorageWorks series.

The products are set to be formally announced at next week's Microsoft TechEd trade show in Dallas.

Also at the show, Microsoft is expected Monday to discuss a new version of its Windows-powered NAS software. For the first time, the company is likely to make the software available in multiple versions, allowing it to be tailored to different segments of the storage market.

The Redmond, Wash., company has recently been trying to broaden the range of storage gear running its software. Last month, it announced that storage leader EMC will begin selling a Windows-based NAS product known as NetWin. That machine will be aimed at expanding Microsoft-based gear into higher price ranges. NetWin is expected to sell in the $50,000-to-$135,000 price range.

Separately, HP and Legato Systems plan on Monday to announce a broader partnership to help sell e-mail archiving systems to large companies. HP will resell Legato's EmailXtender software as part of the deal.