Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

As consolidation continues in the storage industry, solution providers are faced with a limited number of vendors from which to source products and deliver solutions. But after the dust settles from the latest round of acquisitions, the merging of like-minded vendors with complementary product lines can actually provide a number of benefits to solution providers and customers, especially in the lucrative and still-growing SMB space, says Lee Johns, Hewlett-Packard’s director of marketing, HP StorageWorks.

Solution providers – many of whom are SMBs themselves – may not have the resources or the time to choose between different vendors’ components to build a highly complex solution, and it’s incumbent upon large vendors to help develop those solutions for them.

“We believe that for SMBs it’s really about being able to choose solutions that are powerful and simple, and that increases their confidence and value to customers,” he says. Providing an end-to-end solution from a single vendor means solution providers and their SMB customers have access to easier-to-manage, better integrated solutions, with the added bonus of a single-vendor support option.

To that end, HP has introduced a new set of products and services under its TotalCare program designed to fill out its portfolio of SMB-focused solutions and help partners deliver end-to-end storage, virtualization, remote access and consolidation solutions, Johns says.

“It’s not just about the storage industry,” Johns says. “Storage touches so many other areas within a data center – networks, desktops, servers, virtualization deployments,” he says. It can be a challenge for single-component vendors to work with their channel partners to pull together solutions, he says.

The HP StorageWorks X1000 and X3000 Network Storage Systems offer a single, unified file and application storage solution for customers that don’t want to invest in two separate storage infrastructures, and also include deduplication capabilities to increase efficiency, says Johns.

The X1000 and X3000 are also available in a blade form factor, allowing partners more flexibility when offering data center solutions based on the new products, Johns says. While the X1000 offers both file level and application storage in a single, easily deployable solution, the X3000 functions as a storage gateway that can add file services to customers’ existing arrays, Johns says. Both are based on underlying HP Proliant G6 server platforms, and also include integrated fault tolerance and remote management capabilities.

In addition, Johns says the new generations of HP’s StorageWorks 2000i and 2000sa G2 Modular Smart Arrays (MSAs) will round out HP’s family of smart arrays with higher performance and increased connectivity options. The MSA 2000 SA offers SAS connectivity, while the MSA 2000i has iSCSI connectivity.

The new MSAs allow solution providers to mix and match between large and small form factor drives, giving solution providers the flexibility to creating tiered storage solutions for customers with those needs, says Johns.

Finally, HP’s Virtualization bundle is an integrated solution that allows SMBs to more easily and cost-effectively deploy virtualization, Johns says. The bundle transforms existing server disk drives into highly available shared storage, eliminating the need for external storage to deliver high availability. Included in the bundle are ProLiant G6 servers, HP’s LeftHand Virtual SAN appliance, VMware Vsphere software, Insight control management software and ProCurve Networking functionality, Johns says.
“This is a really unique solution focused on our virtual SAN appliance (VSA),” he says. “You can land this solution in a virtual machine to virtualize direct-attached storage within an existing SAN. Partners can then pool a number of SANs to increase the amount of capacity available for customers,” he says, and do so quickly and cost-efficiently.

Using HP’s VSA, the solution can scale to as many as 160 Terabytes across ten servers, and also includes features like thin provisioning, snapshots and replication, he says.