HP Expands SMB Storage Line

Small and mid-sized businesses are hardly immune to the epidemic of digital data — ranging from e-mail to documents to photos to video — overtaking servers and storage devices.

To help offer a cure, HP today introduced two direct-attached storage enclosures in its entry-level Modular Smart Array (MSA) product line. The HP StorageWorks MSA60 and MSA70 are geared toward businesses with between 100 and 999 employees, according to Charles Vallhonrat, manager of product marketing, entry-level SAN for HP’s StorageWorks Division.

However, businesses on the smaller side of the SMB spectrum are also likely candidates for the new products if they create large volumes of content and are running out of storage space or they want to create a disk-to-disk backup process, Vallhonrat said. “If you have a growing business, you’re positioned for growth because you can add drives as you need.”

HP StorageWorks MSA60
Best of both worlds? The HP StorageWorks MSA60 lets you add up to 12 SAS (high performance) or SATA (lower cost) drives.

One of the attractions of the new drive enclosures is that you can “mix and match SAS and SATA drives,” Vallhonrat said, to take advantage of tiered storage. The concept of tiered storage refers to technology that allows you to treat certain types of data different than others. That is, information that you need to access quickly on a regular basis would reside on one tier using SAS, while data stored for archival purposes, would reside on a different tier using SATA drives.

Combining SAS and SATA in one enclosure helps you reach that goal as SAS drives are faster, and a bit more expensive, and SATA don’t offer quite the performance but are more affordable.

The HP StorageWorks MSA60 is a 2U disk drive enclosure (i.e., 3.5 inches tall) designed to support 3.5-inch universal SAS or SATA drives for a maximum capacity of up to 3.6 TB with 12 SAS drives or 9 TB with 12 SATA drives. It supports direct attach to HP ProLiant and HP Integrity servers and cascading of enclosures, which is designed to let you increase capacity as your storage needs grow.

The MSA70 is also 2U enclosure. It houses up to 25 SAS or SATA drives and supports 2.5-inch SAS or SATA small form-factor drives for a maximum capacity of up to 3.6 TB with 25 SAS drives or 1.5 TB with 25 SATA drives. It supports direct attach to HP ProLiant and HP Integrity servers.

Vallhonrat also said that drives from ProLiant servers can be removed from the server case and added to the MSA drive array.

The MSA60 and MSA70 also offer what HP describes as advanced data protection with a range of fail-safe configurations built into the enclosure’s firmware. Features include RAID 6 with Advanced Data Guarding, which is designed to prevent downtime or data loss during events such as upgrades or drive failure.

The HP StorageWorks MSA60 is available now for $2,999. The HP StorageWorks MSA70 is expected to be available in the first half of 2007. Vallhonrat said pricing hasn’t been finalized, but that it would fall in the $3,250 area.

In another move to help SMBs improve their storage capabilities, HP, in September, announced the StorageWorks All-in-One line of data servers, which combine iSCSI SAN, NAS and data protection in one machine to manage Microsoft environments (e.g. Microsoft Exchange).

HP says that with the All-in-One system, you can begin deploying storage on the network after a 7-step installation process that takes about 20 minutes. Vallhonrat said the new MSA products are designed to complement, not compete, with the All-in-One products because the enclosure can sit behind the servers and provide additional network storage.

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com’s Small Business Channel, EarthWeb’s Networking Channel and ServerWatch.

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