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HP and QLogic Aim Low

Band with Microsoft on super-simple SAN to hedge against iSCSI creep

ORLANDO, Fla. -- You cant say Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and QLogic Corp. (Nasdaq: QLGC) are overestimating the technical expertise of SMBs -- or underestimating the threat of IP SANs to that market segment.

HP and QLogic have joined with Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT) to come up with an entry-level system they say can be set up in less than an hour with fewer than 25 mouse clicks -- a SAN for Technical Idiots, as it were. The SAN ships in one box and includes an HP disk array, two QLogic HBAs, and an eight-port switch.

HP calls it the StorageWorks MSA 1000 Small Business SAN kit, with pricing starting at under $10,000. It was unveiled today at Storage Networking World and will be available November 1.

Storage vendors have loudly courted the SMB (small to medium-sized business) market for around a year now, but the biggest challenge has been that SMBs are often ill-prepared to run a SAN. Kyle Fitze, HP’s director of SAN marketing, says SMBs know the whys of SANs a lot more than the hows.

“Do they not understand the benefits of SANs?” Fitze says. “No, it’s the perceived cost and complexity that stops them from implementing them.”

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