Storage vendors continue to look for ways to penetrate the small-business market with high-performance Fibre Channel SAN equipment, but for small businesses, the results can be mixed.
Hewlett-Packard recently became one of the latest to make the attempt with three new storage product lines aimed at building low-cost SANs, part of its Smart Office initiative for small businesses, said Frank Harbist, vice president and general manager of the Storage Software Division in HP's Network Storage Solutions Group.
The first is an extension of HP's entry-level MSA storage array family to include low-cost Serial ATA hard drives, Harbist said.
HP also unveiled a new line of low-cost Fibre Channel switches. The switches, made by Brocade Communications Systems under an OEM arrangement, come in eight-port and 16-port versions. Software for the switches has been simplified over that of previous HP switches to improve ease-of-use for smaller companies, Harbist said.
Also new from HP is the StorageWorks DAT-72 autoloader with space for six 72-Gbyte cartridges. It replaces the previous autoloader, which could handle 40-Gbyte cartridges. The new products could be suitable for small businesses in certain environments with heavy data storage requirements, said Carl Wolfston, director of Headlands Associates, a Pleasanton, Calif.-based HP solution provider. But for most small businesses, Wolfston said, a more suitable solution is typically two ProLiant servers and a direct-attach SCSI MSA 500, for which clients pay under $10,000.