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HP, IBM Muscle Up Midrange

Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM) are stepping up the fight with EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) in the midrange storage array market with the introduction this week of new products aiming to compete with EMC's Clariion product family (see HP Launches EVA 3000 and EMC Moves Downmarket With CX400).

There's no mystery why vendors are rushing to introduce midtier storage products: It is still the fastest-growing segment of the market. The high end of the market has been flat, while, at the low end, new standards like iSCSI are taking a while to gain acceptance (see iSCSI Gets Go-Ahead).

"We are significantly focusing on the SMB [small and medium-sized business] market, because the opportunities are tremendous," says Harold Pike, program director of IBM's midrange SAN solutions. "They're just coming on like gangbusters."

HP today announced its StorageWorks Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) 3000, which will go head-to-head with EMC's Clariion CX400, targeted at the workgroup market and outlying data centers within larger organizations. The EVA3000, shipping now, is available with up to 56 disk drives for up to 8 Tbytes of raw capacity. It falls between the EVA 5000 -- which offers up to 240 disk drives and supports 35 Tbytes -- and the MSA 1000, which offers 6 Tbytes.

"This high-end functionality is now available to the midrange at an attractive entry point," says Howard Elias, senior VP and general manager of HP's Network Storage Solutions group.

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