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HP Builds SANs for SMBs

MALBOROUGH, Mass. -- The SAN battle is heating up on the low end, with Hewlett-Packard today revealing plans for a new iSCSI SAN line for small and mid-sized business.

HP gave a "sneak preview" of the new system at a media event here today, but disclosed few details except to say it will ship around September and cost about $5,000 for 1 Tbyte, plus a complete set of management software. The announcement comes a month after NetApp launched its StoreVault SMB system and a week after EMC CEO Joe Tucci said his company will expand its platform of SANs for SMBs. (See NetApp Zeroes In on SMBs and EMC Eyes SMB Push.)

Why all the fuss about the low end? That's where the growth is expected in storage. Debbie Young, HP's maketing manager, estimates the SMB storage market could hit $2.5 billion in 2008. But storage vendors have been pointing at SMBs for years now without making much of a mark. HP says the trick will be to deliver a system that is easy to manage and costs between $5,000 and $10,000.

HP's system will match StoreVault's price for 1 Tbyte. The NetApp systems scale to 6 Tbytes and will eventually offer Fibre Channel connectivity through kits from QLogic for an extra $4,000 or more.

Young won't say yet how much capacity HP will make available for $10,000. She says Fibre Channel is not in the roadmap because the systems are aimed at customers with no Fibre Channel expertise and no desire to get into Fibre Channel.

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