Vendors tout the simplicity and cost savings promise of software, hardware, and services for small and mid-sized companies.
IBM is announcing small DAS (via SAS on the 3200) and Fibre Channel SAN arrays that support up to 36 SAS drives. Pricing looks attractive, starting well under $10K, but with the usual tactic of charging a thousand here and two thousand there for "software" features like basic management or snapshots. The problem is that real small enterprises--up to 50 users or so--rarely have a need for external storage. When a company grows out of the S part of SMB and reaches 15-20 servers they start needing either more storage than can go internal to a server or they want to cluster servers, which requires shared external storage. DAS, like the IBM 3200 SAS array, is inflexible and fibre channel too arcane for either to be the right answer for these users unless they want their VAR to be the storage admin. In my consulting practice I've stopped using DAS at all. iSCSI solutions don't cost all that much more and give clients the flexibility they need without learning a while new lexicon to run FC. As for HP bringing their AppIQ SRM technology down to a price a mid-market company can afford--that's great. The guys with 3 TB to 10 TB of data have just as big a mess, relative to their staff, as the big boys.
Howard Marks NWC Contributing Editor --
While I laud both IBM and HP for trying to make things easier for the SME, none of the major storage companies have really figured out what the SME wants in the storage market. The reality is that SMEs want the functionality of the enterprise level SAN but, at the end of the day, they won't pay for it in additional equipment or in the training necessary for their already overworked IT people. The SME continues to be the home of the NAS and direct attached storage.
Stephen Schuchart NWC Managing Technology Editor
IBM and HP used the Storage Networking World conference in San Diego this week as a platform to launch new storage hardware, software, and services aimed specifically at small and medium-sized enterprises. Both vendors sounded a uniform theme of simplicity and significantly reduced costs as the big payoffs of their new storage solutions.
HP unveiled a new edition of the company's storage resource management software that the vendor said eliminates labor-intensive tasks by automating often complex and tedious storage processes using a secure browser-based interface. HP Storage Essentials provides users with a single control point for of all of storage resources on their storage area networks (SAN) and all network attached storage (NAS) appliances.