Hewlett-Packard and Dell have announced storage products aimed at making network-centric storage more attractive to the small and medium-sized business market.
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Dell will ship a replacement for its 1U rack-mounted PowerVault 725N network-attached storage (Nas) server, called the 745N.
In addition to a faster processor speed, the 745N will have a capacity of 4Tbytes of SCSI (Small Computer System Interface) attached storage - four times the limit of the 725 - and will include snapshot software that will allow customers to back up and restore the system easily.
The 745N runs Microsoft's Windows Storage Server 2003, and will be available with between 160Gbytes and 4Tbytes of storage, and Celeron or Pentium 4 processors ranging up to 3.2GHz.
HP also plans to widen its networked storage offerings for SMEs.
"We're seeing explosive growth in data. This is impacting small businesses as well," said Kyle Fitze, the director of product marketing for online storage with HP.
"With these products and technologies we can finally deliver that efficiency of storage management and deployment to a class of customers," he added.
By July, HP will ship the latest member of its Modular Smart Array line of networked storage arrays for small and medium-sized business that will be based on the Serial ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment) interconnect.
Serial ATA works with inexpensive drives, but still allows users to "hot plug" latest drives without turning off the array. It also has an architecture that makes it work well with large pools of data storage.
"We thought that this technology could be used very nicely in an entry-level San environment," he said.
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 HP StorageWorks B-series line of San switches, based on 8-port and 16-port fibre channel switches from Brocade Communications Systems, as well as a tape autoloader, capable of storing six 72Gbyte data cartridges, called the DAT 72x6.
The DAT 72x6 will be available later this month, starting at $2,799. When the B-series switches begin shipping in April, an 8-port model will cost $5,000. Customers will pay $12,500 for a 16-port model.
Robert McMillan writes for IDG News Service