HP Ships Virtual Tape Offerings for SMBs

By Chris Preimesberger  |  Posted 2006-05-24

HP Ships Virtual Tape Offerings for SMBs

Hewlett-Packard, in step with its recent spate of new storage and data management products and services now available for small and midsize businesses, said on May 24 that it has begun shipping several new or enhanced secure storage offerings for that market.

HPs updated "business-protection" portfolio now offers a new virtual tape library system and an upgraded tape library and improved software for its front-line ProLiant servers, the company said.

All the new products help businesses prevent, prepare for, respond to and recover from unexpected events that can disrupt their operations or potentially shut them down, HP said.

The portfolio is part of the HP Simply StorageWorks program, which includes products, software and services expressly aimed at SMBs.

This is the Palo Alto, Calif. companys third structured storage offering for the SMB market.

"Virtual tape storage has long been used in mainframe systems," said HP marketing manager Adam Thew. "Its now moving into data centers of all sizes. And were making the whole secure data process more available for small businesses."

The definition of "virtual tape" varies somewhat with each vendor. With most virtual tape implementations, the target device for backups is changed from a physical tape drive to a disk drive, said Dianne McAdam, director of enterprise information assurance for The Clipper Group in Wellesley, Mass.

"Virtual tape products require few, if any, changes to the existing backup infrastructure," McAdam told eWEEK via e-mail.

"Usually, the disk array and software can be easily plugged into existing backup products. The normal process of directing the backup stream to tape is simply redirected to disk.

"The disk array responds to software commands just as if it were a tape drive, hence the name virtual tape."

McAdams added that some vendors have developed software that ships with their own disk subsystems, while other vendors have developed software that works with any vendors disk array.

She also mentioned that customers can use any disk system and direct their backups to this disk system to gain restore speed.

"But these disk systems appear to the operating system as disk [and do not emulate tape]," McAdam said. "Here, customers are required to make changes to their backup processes, and that can be a pain point for many customers. Changes have to be tested and implemented and that takes time."

McAdams explained that with virtual tape, few, if any changes are required—so it is very easy to implement.

Next Page: New HP products in detail.

New HP Products in


The new HP products released May 24 are as follows:

  • The HP StorageWorks VLS (Virtual Library System) 1002i provides unattended backup and improved restore performance for SMBs as well as remote or branch offices of large enterprises. It helps businesses protect their data when offsite storage of data tapes is not required, and it improves backup performance to help customers enhance their current tape backup solutions.

    The VLS1002i stores up to 1.5TB of data, or up to 3TB when using the integrated data compression feature. This allows customers to restore files in minutes rather than hours, Thew said.

  • The new high-density, midrange HP StorageWorks MSL4048 tape library is aimed at businesses with multiple sites that do not have dedicated IT support at every location. The MSL4048 stores up to 19.2TB of data in a compact, 4U design.

    Both the VLS1002i and the MSL4048 offer integrated Web-based management, which provides remote control and troubleshooting capabilities that eliminate the need for onsite IT resources in remote offices.

  • The HP ProLiant DPSS (Data Protection Storage Server) family is now enhanced with an option for HP StorageWorks Data Protector Express. The software now offers online backup of the DPSS replicas and system as well as an automated disaster recovery capability.

  • Additionally, Data Protector Express is integrated with the HP tape drives OBDR (One-Button Disaster Recovery) utility, which enables customers to restore a servers operating system, software applications and data simply by pressing a button and following the onscreen instructions.

    Click here to read about HPs latest ILM products.

    Data Protector Express, in conjunction with OBDR, can provide system recovery in less than one hour, Thew said.

    All of HPs tape drives and tape autoloaders now ship with Data Protector Express Single Server Edition software. Customers can also download Data Protector Express ProLiant Edition at zero incremental cost to protect any new or installed HP ProLiant server, Thew said.

    IDC storage analyst Robert Amatruda told eWEEK that "HP is basically taking [virtual tape] technology that has been used on mainframes for some time and making it available for open systems users.

    "That way, the medium-size business owner gets the look, feel, smell and performance of a high-end tape storage system for much less cost. HP really understands the customers needs here and is supplying some excellent products to fill that need," Amatruda said.

    McAdam said she thought HP has packaged the new offerings well for the SMB owner, who normally dont have a lot of infrastructure already in place.

    "All storage vendors realize that the SMB market is growing at a much larger rate than the enterprise market," McAdam wrote eWEEK via e-mail. "What is unique about HPs offerings is that they package everything together in a nice bundle.

    By way of example, McAdam mentioned that HP has put together three tape storage media kits to ensure that small and midsize companies have all the storage media products they need. Each media kit contains a full complement of HP storage media, a storage media case to transport or store cartridges, a cleaning cartridge, tape labels, an evaluation copy of Data Protector Express, and a guide to creating successful tape backups.

    McAdam also confirmed that the data protection market for SMBs is rapidly growing.

    "Large enterprises customers have always understood that they must be able to quickly back up and restore their data. SMB customers also knew this, but there were not that many choices before. Now, with offerings such as these from HP, SMB customers have more, and very affordable, options," McAdam said.

    Check out eWEEK.coms for the latest news, reviews and analysis on enterprise and small business storage hardware and software.

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