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Bell Micro is adding the Hitachi Simple Modular Storage 100 products to its distribution lineup, giving its channel partners another option to compete against entry level storage offerings from rivals like Hewlett-Packard.

Hitachi’s SMS (Simple Modular Storage) 100 is being marketed to small and midsize businesses that don’t have sufficient IT staff to manage complex storage technology, said Gary Gammon, vice president of marketing for Bell Micro.

Gammon said that while performance and price points between the Hitachi SMS 100 and Hewlett-Packard’s Modular Storage Array 1000 series are similar, Gammon said Bell Micro’s support and Hitachi’s own reseller program offer extensive training and support to partners to help them sell the storage technology

Gammon said the SMS 100 is a great fit for SMBs, but that it can also find a niche within larger enterprises that need storage capabilities at branch offices. The SMS 100, he said, is extremely simple to set up and is nearly "maintenance-free," another boon for resellers selling to the SMB space.

"The SMB market is the fastest-growing segment of the storage market for our partners," Gammon said.  He added that Bell Micro is encouraging its partners to take advantage of the new product offering, and "wants to have hundreds of partners selling the SMS 100 by the end of 2008.

Gammon said the SMS 100 can scale from 3TB to as much as 12TB of storage.  The SMS 100 is currently available through Bell Micro starting at about $4,000.