HP Targets SMB Backup

Unveils low-end disk-to-disk backup appliances in modest release

February 27, 2007

3 Min Read
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HP, which is currently refocusing its StorageWorks division, is setting its sights on the SMB market with the launch of its low-end backup strategy today. (See HP Releases D2D for SMBs.)

The vendor took the wraps off two disk-to-disk backup devices during a press conference this morning. Both boxes, the D2D 110 and D2D 120, are iSCSI-based and, according to HP, each can connect to four Windows servers. The 110 has a raw capacity of 1 Tbyte, of which 750 Gbytes are usable, compared to 2 Tbytes and 1.5 Tbytes, respectively, on the 120.

The products, both available now, are part of HP's push to get its storage story back on track. (See HP Storage Sneaks Up, HP's New Unit Meant to Spur Storage, and HP Reshuffles More Software.) But it's not clear how much they'll actually help the cause.

HP is looking to prey on users' worries about tape, which has played a key role in some high-profile storage snafus. (See On the Brink of Storage Disaster, Chase Trashes Tapes, A Tale of Lost Tapes, and Top Tips for Compliance .) "There's the overhead of [tape] management, the challenge of lost tapes, and the cost of implementing the technology," said Adam Thew, director of nearline product marketing at HP during this morning's press conference.

HP claims that by assigning the backup of up to four servers to each D2D box, users avoid the hassle of connecting tape libraries and autoloaders to each server. "Multiple individual [tape] devices increase the backup costs and the risk of human error," said Thew.But at least one analyst thinks HP's claims won't do much to squelch the use of tape. "Tape is so appealing, just from an archiving, off-site perspective," said Ray Boggs, vice president of SMB research at IDC, adding that it will remain part of the backup landscape for a long time.

One thing HP may influence is the pricing of D2D wares for SMBs. A number of vendors, including Overland and Breece Hill, tout D2D technologies, although IDC's Boggs told Byte & Switch that cost has traditionally been a sticking point for SMBs. (See Overland's Overture to Former Flame and Breece Hill Announces SMB Gains.)

At a price starting at $3,000 for the 120 and $2,000 for the 110, HP could help whittle down D2D a bit further.

But HP isn't likely to go too far toward enabling customers to ditch tape completely. HP's Thew made that clear this morning: "We recommend that customers, for full business continuity, have disk-to-disk-to-tape," he said, adding that this could mean copying backup data to tape once a week or once a month.

Clearly looking to hedge its bets, HP is already planning a tape-based upgrade for its disk-to-disk products. "Later this year we will be adding a firmware enhancement that will let you directly connect a tape device to the backup system," he explained.HP's own tape business continues to be a weak spot in its storage portfolio, prompting CEO Mark Hurd to change the vendor's sales and reseller strategy. (See HP Reports Q1 Results.)

HP is cagey on the topic of early adopters for the new D2D systems. Thew said that a number of organizations in the education and manufacturing sector have deployed the technology, although he did not reveal how many. Only one beta customer, Compass Public Charter School in Boise, Idaho, has been publicly announced.

HP's also following its trend toward OEMing key portions of new products. In response to a question from an analyst this morning, Thew confimed that the Data Protector Express software running on the devices is OEM'd from Yosemite. (See EMC's Symons Heads to Yosemite and Yosemite Names CEO .)

The exec noted that the D2D appliances also work with Symantec's Backup Exec software and EMC's Retrospect offerings, although HP is planning to extend this list. "Over time we will add support for other third party products," he said.

James Rogers, Senior Editor Byte and Switch

  • Breece Hill LLC

  • EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC)

  • Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ)

  • IDC

  • Overland Storage Inc. (Nasdaq: OVRL)

  • Symantec Corp. (Nasdaq: SYMC)

  • Yosemite Technologies Inc.0

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