HP cuts price of low-end SAN storage

Hewlett-Packard has repackaged its entry-level storage systems and bundled them with ProLiant servers. It's a move that could translate into storage that's cheaper than what IBM, EMC and Dell have to offer.

Hewlett-Packard Co. is trying to make it easier for users to enter the world of storage area networks (SANs) by combining several existing storage systems to create a new product line.

HP's new family of products is called the StorageWorks Modular Smart Array (MSA) line, and the company has assembled storage bundles that include both the newly rebranded products and the company's ProLiant servers.

Paul Miller, HP's vice president of marketing for industry standard servers, said the entry-level pricing of the MSA family is between 25% and 53% cheaper than EMC Corp.'s CX200, IBM's Fast-T200 and Dell Inc.'s direct-attached high-availability package.

The new product line includes three main components.

HP's direct-attached storage enclosure for workgroup and departmental users, formerly known as the StorageWorks enclosure 4214, is now the MSA30.

The MSA500 is the new name for HP's Smart Array Cluster Storage. The product is still a direct-attached system, but it is designed for storage consolidation for remote sites and distributed clustered environments.

And on the SAN side of things is the MSA1000; it's an entry-level SAN array targeted at users who want to migrate from direct-attached to networked storage.

The MSA30, MSA500 and MSA1000 are available for $3,200, $5,700 and $9.995, respectively. The MSA family will run Microsoft and Linux operating systems, according to HP.

HP has also integrated its StorageWorks MSA products with its ProLiant servers, in order to create some bundled offerings at bargain prices.

The ProLiant DL380 Packaged Cluster with the MSA500 features two ProLiant DL380 servers, an MSA500 enclosure, two host bus adapters and required cables with limited on-site IT support. The package costs $9,999.

HP's bundle for clustering is the ProLiant DL380 Packaged Cluster with MSA1000. It features a pair of ProLiant DL380 servers, an MSA1000 enclosure, two host bus adapters and one eight-port Fibre Channel switch. It supports up to 20 servers for a price of --> ,999.

According to the experts, HP is on the right track by offering integrated storage and server packages to its customers.

"Storage managers need to look at the bigger picture: Buying storage and servers from the same vendor can offer a significant number of advantages from a support perspective, as well as giving buyers more leverage with vendors," said Jamie Gruener, a senior analyst with the Yankee Group Inc., Boston. "As for buying from HP today, now is [a] good time, as HP and others in this space have been increasingly aggressive on pricing."

Let us know what you think about the story; e-mail: Kevin Komiega, News Editor.

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