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HP rebranded its storage offerings and added new products to the mix today, but there’s a lot more behind the move than simply cleaning up the storage line card. In addition to the new nomenclature, the extensions to its Modular Smart Array (MSA) and LeftHand lines mean more opportunity to the channel.

"From a channel perspective, it’s a very significant channel play," says Charles Vallhonrat, product marketing managers with HP StorageWorks, who outlined the MSA-related news.

Currently shipping with prices starting at $9,950, the HP StorageWorks P2000 G3 Modular Smart Array (MSA) System features include: faster application performance through an 8Gb FC controller; improved data management and flexibility with a FC/iSCSI Combo controller option that offers both 8Gb FC and 1Gb iSCSI ports; increased data protection with Remote Snap, a new replication capability that is built in; and improved scalability with a 50-percent increase in small-form-factor drive count and a 60 percent increase large-form-factor drive count. The array can support up to 57.6 terabytes (TB) in SAS-based configurations or 192 TB in SATA. 

Vallhonrat says HP is reaching out beyond the traditional MSA SMB market to branch and remote offices. "The G3 is adding increased scalability, availability and performance,” he said, while touting better bundling opportunities for the G3s and HP’s ProLiant server line. "This is an easy storage expansion story,” he said.

The news is equally good for the channel selling the rebranded LeftHand product, says Chris McCall, also a product marketing manager with HP StorageWorks.

"LeftHand does over 90 percent of its business through the channel,” McCall explained, calling this week’s news the biggest release in the product line in last 18-24 months.

The HP StorageWorks P4000 G2 SAN Solutions are also currently available with U.S. list prices starting at $30,000. The P4000 Unified NAS Gateway is expected to begin shipping on April 5, and the new SAN/iQ software will ship with all P4000 G2 SAN systems and is available to existing P4000 and LeftHand Networks customers for download on March 29. The Network RAID 5 and 6 software upgrades are expected to be available in March.

The benefits of the SAN/iQ software and the P4000 G2 SAN include: improved capacity utilization by up to 50 percent over existing P4000 SAN solutions with Network RAID that reduces the amount of storage space consumed; increased storage performance with the new Best Practice Analyzer that constantly monitors and compares the SAN environment with lab-tested best practices; and simplified data management through new application integrated snapshot, remote copy, and clone capabilities that ensure reliable capture and recovery of data.

Targeted at storage for virtual servers, the P4000 features a fairly unique registration program, says McCall, along with 20- to 30-percent margins. Referring to industry data, he adds that for every dollar spent on virtual servers, there’s another $11 spent on associated products and services.

Virtualization is bringing with it a host of new problems — including virtual sprawl — which create new opportunities for the channel, says McCall. "Virtualization is raising the bar for storage management, and customers are demanding more for less."

While the P2000 market is different, these customers are also looking for very low-cost solutions, says Vallhonrat. "We’re seeing a lot of interest at entry-level products… (and) how can I stretch this further."