HP Ships Virtual Tape Offerings for SMBs

Hewlett-Packard's third structured storage portfolio for SMBs includes a virtual tape library system, an upgraded tape library and improved software for its ProLiant servers.

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.

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger

Chris Preimesberger is Editor of Features & Analysis at eWEEK, responsible in part for the publication's coverage areas. In his 10 years and more than 3,500 stories at eWEEK, he has distinguished...