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HP Aims to Dazzle SMBs

Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) has become the first system vendor to commit to offering new low-end Fibre Channel switches from Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD).

As part of an initiative to make its SANs more friendly to small and medium-sized business (SMB) users, HP today announced it will ship systems beginning in April with Brocades new low-end Silkworm switch that had been code-named Dazzler.

The announcement puts Brocade on target for the timetable it set for its new switches (see Brocade Battles Back). IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM)
and EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC) are also expected to use Brocade’s switches in their low-end systems but have not yet announced their plans.

The announcement also highlights momentum behind the SMB market -- and HP's attempt to maintain its hold there. HP already considers SMB the sweet spot for its PC, printer, and server business, and it's has been pursuing a SAN strategy in the SMB market for months (see HP Takes the Low Road and HP Underprices IBM, EMC on Low End).

"It's an extremely important market to HP,” says Frank Harbist, HP’s VP of storage software and infrastructure. “We’ve led the SMB market for many years. Given that, it’s also a focus for a lot of other companies.”

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