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Storage

HP thinks smaller on storage markets

Hewlett-Packard releases three new data storage systems designed for small and medium-size businesses.

Hewlett-Packard on Monday released new data storage systems designed for small and medium-size businesses.

The Palo Alto, Calif.-based computer maker is offering three HP StorageWorks Modular Smart Arrays. They are designed to provide smaller companies different levels of performance, such as the ability to handle more servers, depending on how much the companies are willing to spend, the company said.

HP, which kicked off an effort to tap the market for small and medium-size business with easy-to-use computer products over the summer, said it wants to use the Modular Smart Array products to increase smaller businesses' interest in external storage.

External storage can offer benefits such as the ability to consolidate data from several servers, which increases the availability of the data if one server goes down. External storage also makes it easier to back up data, because it's stored in a single repository, HP executives said.

HP's Modular Smart Array MSA30 is a disk array, otherwise known as a JBOD or "just a bunch of disks," designed to store up to 2 terabytes of data and work with a single server. It pools the storage capacity of as many as 14 146GB hard drives and connects to a server using the SCSI interface. It starts at $3,200, HP said.

The MSA500, which offers the same data storage capacity as the MSA30, promises faster performance, thanks to an onboard RAID (redundant array of independent disks) controller, and the ability to work with up to two servers. It starts at $5,700, the company said.

HP's MAS1000, a network attached storage system, can store as much as 6 terabytes of data and connect to two or more servers using Fibre Channel. The storage array, which is more likely to become the choice of a medium-size business with more than 100 employees, achieves the full 6 terabytes by combining its own onboard capacity of 2 terabytes with that of two fully loaded MSA30 systems, which can be attached to it. It starts at $9,995, HP said.

With ease of implementation and upkeep in mind, HP is also offering a series of starter kits, which include items such as network cables that allow customers to add the Modular Smart Array storage systems to their existing servers easily, the company said.

A second series of bundles will allow companies to use HP ProLiant servers and Modular Smart Array storage systems simultaneously, it said.

HP, which sells a wide range of storage systems, has said it believes that making all of its small-business products simple to use for businesses that don't have large information-technology staffs will help it boost sales.

While small businesses don't buy as much hardware as HP's Fortune 500 customers do, the sheer size of the small and medium-size business market has always appealed to HP and other computer companies such as Dell, IBM and Gateway. Like HP, all of them also have plans to cater to these businesses with their computer hardware, software and services.