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HP wants to simplify storage for all

Company says its storage system, aimed at the small-business market, is easy to use and will drive down costs.

HP is the latest company to come up with a storage system aimed at the elusive small-business market, which is now being actively courted by most of the major systems and software vendors, from IBM to Microsoft.

On Monday, HP launched what it claimed was the "first easy-to-use storage system" that will "drive down costs and complexity" for small- and medium-size enterprises (SMEs). The HP StorageWorks All-in-One Storage System offers "reliable data protection and affordable data storage," the company said.

HP has made broad claims for the system, saying small companies with limited or even no storage expertise will be able to store, share, manage, back up and protect their application and file data in a flexible network storage environment.

A full version of HP StorageWorks Data Protector Express Software is integrated into HP All-in-One Storage Systems to enable data backup and recovery from tape, virtual tape, optical or external disk on the network.

"With these systems, HP is now the benchmark for storage solutions for SMEs," said Bob Schultz, senior vice president and general manager, StorageWorks Division, HP. "Developed from the ground up to address the specific problems SMEs face, the HP All-in-One Storage Systems deliver functionality without the complexity of competing offerings."

HP is allying with Microsoft to dominate the small-business market but the company faces stiff competition from the likes of EMC and IBM, which have been making inroads into this area for some time.

EMC launched its own Insignia line of products in February but these were aimed at companies with much higher annual revenues.

Likewise, IBM pitched in to the SME area in May with its DS4700 storage range, but again these were aimed at the higher end of the market.

Colin Barker of ZDNet UK reported from London.