As more medium-sized companies consolidate their storage, Hewlett-Packard seized an opportunity on Tuesday with a disk array it says is easier to work with than large-enterprise gear, but delivers more capabilities than entry-level storage.
Pursuing the efficiency of virtualisation or just greater uptime, medium-size organisations are bringing storage out of their servers and into SANs (storage area networks). But many don't have the expertise required to set up and run enterprise-class SANs, according to HP. Thus the HP StorageWorks 4400 Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA4400), a platform with eight drives and two controllers all in one shelf that is designed to be discovered, configured and set up in less than an hour.
The EVA4400 is available now and destined for the low end of the midrange market, starting at a list price of US$15,000, said Kyle Fitze, director of marketing in the SAN division of HP's StorageWorks group. These customers tend to have about 1,000 employees, though some smaller enterprises may need this type of gear if they use a lot of storage, he said. Medium-sized businesses often see enterprise storage gear as too complex but need more than entry-level technology, he said.
Consolidating drives and controllers in one shelf cuts costs, Fitze said. The two controllers that manage the drives operate simultaneously and can keep the system running if one fails. The array can be configured with drives ranging from 146G bytes to 1T byte. Fully expanded on multiple shelves, the system can support as much as 96T bytes of storage.
Like other storage vendors, HP recently has been trying to make high-end storage easier to use so it can attract smaller customers, said IDC analyst Natalya Yezhkova. Most midsize companies don't have storage specialists, and if they buy advanced storage systems, they need to either get tools that simplify management or hire additional staff, she said.