HP drops midrange prices

In an effort to win back market share among enterprise users, HP has introduced a SAN starter kit for the Enterprise Virtual Array.

Hoping to turn around its eroding market share within the enterprise, Hewlett Packard Co. announced Monday a SAN starter kit for midsized companies that it claims lowers the price of entry into this market.

The new Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) 3000 starter pack, unveiled at HP World in Chicago this week, includes two controllers, 1 TB of capacity (eight 148 GB, 10K RPM Fibre Channel drives), HP's OpenView storage operations manager software, CommandView for the EVA, 2 licenses for multi-pathing software and three years support and warranty. The list price for this bundle, which will be available from September 1, is $42,000.

A spokesman for HP said the starter kit is intended to make SANs more affordable and less complex for "enterprise users and mid-tier companies." It costs 25% less than buying all the pieces separately, he said, adding that it is competitively priced against a comparable EMC/Dell Clariion CX family array with Parallel Advanced Technology Attachment (PATA) drives or an IBM FAStT array with make SATA drives. "Looking at list price only is not a fair comparison …You must factor in the price of the FC drive shelf conversion and PATA or SATA disk enclosure," he said. Comparable offerings from IBM and EMC/Dell fetch around $30,000.

But that's not the only comparison users can make. There are numerous IP SAN bundles coming onto the market that are also worth checking out. Intransa Corp, a startup based in San Jose, Calif., took the wraps off the second iteration of its product family this week, the IP 3000, aimed at small and medium-sized businesses.

This ATA array includes a single controller, a 2 TB disk enclosure that scales up to 10 TB and snapshot and virtualization software, for $32,000. The company claims to have over 125 customers using its first product, the IP 5000, which has two controllers, scales up to 60 TB and includes software for load balancing and clustering. Other companies making tracks in the IP SAN arena are EqualLogic Inc and Lefthand Networks Inc..

HP's starter kit is designed for one thing and one thing only. "To recoup midrange market share," said Brian Hertzog, analyst with Thomas Weisel Partners. And it's easy to see why HP is taking this action. According to recent figures from International Data Corp. (IDC) HP's first-quarter disk storage systems revenue dropped 6.1%, while the overall market gained 3.5%.

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