HP Announces Entry-Level SAN for SMBs

By Sharon Linsenbach

Hewlett-Packard will introduce an update to its entry-level storage area network products that the vendor hopes will spur customers to upgrade from older storage technology. 

The new MSA2000 line will replace HP's MSA1000 line and will include Fibre Channel or iSCSI disk arrays, said an HP spokesperson. The line is targeted at SMBs (small and midsize businesses) migrating to shared storage for the first time, said Charles Vallhonrat, MSA product manager with HP StorageWorks. Vallhonrat said the entry-level product line could also be of interest to enterprise customers that need SAN technology at branch offices, in small application deployments or in testing environments, he said.

"We didn't make any design decisions that would limit the product's use by either SMB or the enterprise customers," he said, adding that the MSA2000 line could be a valuable product line addition to HP partners selling to any size customers.

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One New Jersey HP partner who wished to remain anonymous said the new line will help him persuade "a lot of customers to upgrade," but added he wished the vendor had brought the products to market sooner.

"It's about time. We go up against other storage vendors selling products like this all the time," he said. 

Vallhonrat said the MSA2000 was designed to integrate with virtualized server environments. HP's goal, he said, is for channel partners to sell the MSA2000 line to the same customers interested in blade servers.

The MSA2000 includes the same SMU (storage management utility) software HP uses to manage its HP BladeSystem products, making centralized server and storage management easier for partners and customers. 

Vallhonrat added that the vendor is developing a blueprint-like set of whitepapers, or "solution blocks," that show how to integrate the MSA2000 with other HP server and storage products, including blades. The solution blocks will "show partners how to create, install and integrate an end-to-end solution," he said. 

"We will be rolling out programs to show partners how this product can help customers increase storage capabilities and get better performance," he said, but he did not specify when HP will release them. Vallhonrat said HP will also make a "regional upgrade offer" as an incentive to partners selling the new line.  

With an installed base of more than 125,000 existing MSA1000 products, Vallhonrat said, the previous-generation MSA technology was fertile ground for partners to offer customers technology upgrades and data migration services.

The MSA2000 products, he said, are a "significant leap to new technology," and this gives partners great opportunities to help customers migrate and secure their data from the older storage products to the new line. "Technologywise, this is a significant upgrade.  This will not be a 'data in place,' simple transition," he said. 

Pricing for the MSA2000 starts at $4,999; products will be available starting in March.

This article was originally published on 2008-02-05