RealTime IT News

A Two-For-One Storage System For SMBs

HP  today said it has added two new direct-attached storage (DAS)  machines for small- and medium-sized businesses, offering customers new choices from the computer maker's entry-level Modular Smart Array (MSA) line.

The HP StorageWorks MSA60 and MSA70 enclosures support serial-attached SCSI (SAS)  and serial ATA (SATA)  drives in the same enclosure.

Charles Vallhonrat, manager of entry-level SANs for HP's StorageWorks group, said providing machines that can house both frequently used, performance-driven data created in SAS, as well as seldom-used data created in SATA on one system is important.

SMB customers, who typically have smaller budgets to play with, don't have to buy separate machines to store SAS and SATA data created from a glut of e-mail, archiving applications or document-imaging repositories.

The idea, HP believes, is that customers will flock to the MSA60 or MSA70 because they feel they are getting a two-for-one device to handle all of their data, cutting their hardware infrastructure costs.

The HP StorageWorks MSA60 is a 2U (1U = 1.75 inches) disk drive box that supports up to 3.6 terabytes (TB)  with 12 3.5-inch SAS drives or 9 TB on 12 SATA drives.

The machine attaches directly to HP ProLiant and HP Integrity servers. But customers who require more data storage may link from one to four MSA60 systems.

To do this, Vallhonrat said users can connect an HP Smart Array PA800 controller to an HP server, plug a SAS cable into the of the controller, then snake the SAS cable to up to three additional MSA60s in a "daisy chain" configuration.

The HP StorageWorks MSA70 is a 2U disk drive device supporting up to 3.6 TB with 25, 2.5-inch SAS drives or 1.5 TB with 25, 2.5-inch SATA drives.

The MSA70 supports direct attach to HP ProLiant and HP Integrity servers and can connect to one additional MSA70 with a P800 controller and a SAS cable.

Both systems also offer RAID 6 with Advanced Data Guarding to stave off downtime or data loss during upgrades or drive failure.

"You need extra protection from a drive failure in case you have to have a long rebuild," Vallhonrat said.

The HP StorageWorks MSA60 is available now, starting at $2,999. The HP StorageWorks MSA70 is expected to be available in the first half of 2007. Vallhonrat said the MSA70 pricing has not been finalized but won't exceed $3,250.

Vallhonrat said the new machines follow, but don't replace, the first HP enclosure to handle SAS and SATA in the same box, the MSA50. The MSA50 is a 1U, small form-factor box using up to 10 drives and designed for limited external storage.

HP hopes the new MSA60 and MSA70 enclosures help build the company's leadership position in the external DAS market.

According to IDC, HP was the leader in external DAS with 16.9 percent revenue share in the second quarter of 2006, well ahead of Dell, which posted an 11.2 percent revenue share.

While there are plenty of customers to serve in this segment, competition is fierce.

HP, Dell , EMC  and IBM  are all fighting for new customers -- and to retain existing ones; the rivals continue to set new feature, functionality and capacity bars for the smaller machines.