HP Refills Its SAN Flask

Upgrades MSA1000, adds McData gear, and expects to offer Cisco MDS switches by midyear

January 16, 2003

2 Min Read
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Hewlett-Packard Co. (NYSE: HPQ) kicked off the year with a rather humdrum refresh of its SAN hardware palette, including an enhanced version of its low-end SAN array, the StorageWorks Modular SAN Array 1000 (MSA1000).

Individually, none of HP's new products or announcements are game-changing maneuvers. But overall, they strengthen its storage networking lineup, as HP continues to face major competitive pressure from EMC Corp. (NYSE: EMC), Dell Computer Corp. (Nasdaq: DELL), and IBM Corp. (NYSE: IBM).

The turn of the crank on the MSA1000, originally developed by Compaq, provides 2-Gbit/s Fibre Channel interfaces, as well as support for Linux and NetWare hosts. [Ed. note: Please, save your enthusiastic applause for the end.] A new three-port embedded FC hub option allows basic two-node clustering (see HP Boosts MSA1000).

The MSA1000 has also doubled its capacity, with support for up to 42 disk drives -- that's 6 Tbytes total (in 10U of rack space) using 146-Gbyte drives. That leapfrogs ahead of EMC's CX200 in terms of capacity; the CX200 can support up to 4.4 Tbytes in a 7U-high chassis (see EMC and Dell Double-Down).

HP says the MSA1000 starts at around $19,000 for a single-controller model with 500 Gbytes and goes up to $78,000 for a dual-controller model with 6 Tbytes.Analysts say the upgrade to the MSA1000, while not exactly revolutionary, should keep HP in front of the pack in the lower-end segment.

"It's a product enhancement to a product already well established in the marketplace," says Roger Cox, chief storage analyst at Gartner Inc.

HP has also boosted the capacity of the StorageWorks Virtual Array 7110, which can handle up to 45 drives for a total system capacity of 6.5 Tbytes.

Meanwhile, HP is now offering rebranded versions of McData Corp.'s (Nasdaq: MCDTA) 140-port Intrepid 6140 director and its Sphereon 4500, which provides 8, 16, or 24 ports (see McData Lowers Boom on Brocade and McData Hits 140 Ports).

In addition, HP says it has signed a memorandum of understanding with Cisco Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: CSCO) to resell its MDS 9000 series of switches. HP expects to start offering the Cisco gear in the first half of 2003, following on the heels of IBM, which will start reselling the MDS 9000 switches by the end of the first quarter (see IBM Tells Cisco: 'Let's Go!' and HP Next to Green-Light Cisco?).Separately this week, Sun Microsystems Inc. (Nasdaq: SUNW) announced an expanded relationship with Brocade Communications Systems Inc. (Nasdaq: BRCD). Sun will now carry Brocade's SilkWorm 3200 eight-port switch and has added Brocade's products to its own price book (see Brocade Expands Sun Deal

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