Hewlett-Packard, continuing to invest heavily in products for the midrange storage market, Feb. 26 introduced an upgrade of its best-selling Fibre Channel SAN disk array, which ostensibly can be installed and run by IT-savvy employees who are not storage experts.
The StorageWorks 4400 Enterprise Virtual Array provides improved capacity (up from 56TB in the previous EVA version to 96TB), built-in virtualization and advanced provisioning software, yet requires only a wizard to install and run, HP Marketing Director Kyle Fitze told eWEEK.
"And we think the pricing overall is going to be very attractive to midrange businesses," Fitze said. "We're seeing the key price band now as between $15,000 and $49,000."
HP is tagging these new storage systems with a list price of about $15,000. A base EVA4400 system includes two controllers, eight disk drives, Fibre Channel connectivity and 96TB of raw capacity.
"That makes it ideal for midsize businesses that want to cost-effectively manage large amounts of data in a SAN [storage area network] environment without investing a lot of money," he said.
Fitze also said, "third-party testing has shown that IT managers spend up to 75 percent less time managing the EVA due to its superior ease of use when compared to competing arrays from EMC and NetApp." He based his statement on a November 2007 report entitled "Edison TCO White Paper: EMC, NetApp and HP Midrange Storage Arrays," by Barry Cohen and Kalicharan Rakam of the Edison Group.
The EVA4400's virtualization features, previously available only on HP's high-end arrays, include a dual-redundant hardware architecture that supports local and remote replication software, which eliminates single points of failure, Fitze said.
Storage provisioning can be added as an option, through StorageWorks EVA Dynamic Capacity Management software, Fitze said.
Natalya Yezhkova, storage analyst with IDC, told eWEEK that the EVA4400 is just what is needed right now for midrange customers, because it is relatively inexpensive yet has a number of high-end features not available in competing systems.
"This [the EVA series] is doing quite well for HP right now," Yezhkova said. "It's their best-selling storage line, and this new upgrade makes them even more attractive to a small or medium-size business looking for a relatively simple SAN to install. Of course, 'simple' is a relative term, but they claim it's simple to install and use. They've got some third-party assurance of that."
Yezhkova said HP has had some "bombs" with some of its entry-level storage products because "they did not refresh them for a long, long time. But the EVA line has been refreshed, and nicely."