HP, EMC Bringing Network Storage to SMBs

The two companies are working to simplify choices and lower the entry price of storage networks for small and midsized companies.

Hewlett-Packard Co. and EMC Corp. this winter are each working to simplify choices and lower the entry price of storage networks for small and midsized companies.

Such customers have application requirements that warrant a storage area network, but not the budget or raw capacity demands to justify it with current solutions, experts say.

To help, HP this week announced new bundles and prices for its Modular Storage Array family. For a typical 1TB installation supporting up to 20 servers, the MSA1000 now costs $19,999, plus about $3,000 for the actual drives, officials said. The bundle includes dual ProLiant DL380 servers, two QLogic Corp. host-bus adapters, an eight-port Brocade Communications Systems Inc. Fibre Channel switch and cables, officials said.

The MSA1000 scales to 6TB, they said. A direct-attached version, the MSA500, scales to 2TB and costs $10,000 less. Both use 144GB drives, and the MSA500 can be upgraded to a SAN configuration. In both versions, the servers support Windows, Linux and Novell operating systems, and users can transplant drives from servers, they said.

For its part, EMC in the first half of next year will announce new versions of its Clariion midrange storage products, officials said in a press conference Monday. Dell Inc. will sell the Clariions.

"Well continue [with] future entry-level storage products that enable us to lower prices and return that value to the customer," Dells Darren Thomas, general manager and vice president of storage, said in a press conference Monday. "For example, iSCSI and serial ATA will make network storage available to more customers than ever before," he said. Those products will use embedded Brocade switches, officials of the San Jose, Calif., company said.

The new entry-level Clariion models will likely be called the CX100 and CX150, sources close to both companies said. Also in 2004, EMC is planning new Clariions, likely called CX500 and CX700, as upgrades to the CX400 and CX600, the sources said.

Officials did not comment on those details, but did say that new disk-based backup products are in the works for entry-level customers. "Were going to continue to bring those products down in price," Dells Thomas said.