HP Revamps SMB Storage for BYOD Era

HP unveiled new products this week aimed at small and midsized businesses (SMBs) struggling with runaway data growth. The company’s newly announced new StoreEasy and StoreVirtual systems represent an expansion of its enterprise-grade Converged Infrastructure portfolio into the small business IT market, says HP.

According to Lisa Wolfe, worldwide small midmarket business leader for HP’s enterprise group, a turbulent IT market is forcing some enterprise capabilities downstream.

Small businesses are used to their share of challenges, but a changing IT landscape only adds to their struggles, explains Wolfe. “Over the last 24 months, there’s been an explosion of mobile devices in the consumer segment,” says Wolfe. As those consumer devices — smartphones and tablets for the most part — wind up a part of a small business’s IT mix, they open up “a whole set of IT challenges across the back end.”

Avalanche of Unstructured, Mobile-Driven Data

Data storage management is a major challenge. While regarded as powerful productivity tools, mobile devices are also notorious for generating staggering amounts of unstructured data.

To help on this front, next month HP will roll out new unified StoreEasy Storage systems. Aimed at midsized companies or smaller organizations with big storage needs, HP StoreEasy Storage is meant to “address the explosion of unstructured data from mobile devices,” says the company.

StoreEasy Storage units offer seamless Windows integration, allowing the vast majority of small business IT pros to leverage their existing storage management skills for quick deployment, setup and expansion versus proprietary management systems. Built-in deduplication helps keep the storage capacity requirements of that unstructured data in check.

Another big BYOD (bring your own device) concern is security. StoreEasy Storage offers built-in encryption for data at rest and in transit, according to HP.

Mobility and Virtualization Go Hand-in-Hand

The rise of BYOD is fueling demand for virtualization-friendly computing and storage platforms. “An IT manager can expand performance and expand capacity” very efficiently with virtualization, according to Britt Terry, the product marketing manager for HP storage. Another chief benefit is the capability to refresh apps without disruption, which helps organizations to stay at the forefront of a mobile productivity landscape that’s quickly evolving, said Terry.

In an effort to bring those benefits to SMBs, HP is also readying new StoreVirtual Storage systems (4130 and 4330) that combine ProLiant Generation 8 server technology with HP LeftHand Operating System 10 storage software. The 1U 4130 and 2U 4330 offer streamlined deployment and configuration capabilities that allow small business technologists to virtualize and scale their storage pools without a storage expert.

The benefits extend to always-on access to business data. “With a few clicks, you can carve up physical storage into virtual storage nodes,” informs Wolfe. It’s a capability that allows “immediate failover capability,” she says, helping SMBs promote high availability (HA) in their IT environments.

These features beg the question, are small businesses really jumping on the virtualization bandwagon?

Undoubtedly, says Terry. “The transition to virtualization is no longer just a ‘sometimes’ trend,” says Terry, “it’s an ‘almost always’ trend,” he informs.

He admits that adopting virtualization can be “pretty daunting” for non-IT storage specialists. Despite this, small businesses are not shying away from the technology. Of the SMBs that he is in contact with, “the majority that I talk to, 85-plus percent are virtualizing,” he says.

HP StoreEasy Storage goes on sale on December 10th. Prices start at $5,192 for an 8 TB system. HP StoreVirtual Storage 4130 and 4330 models begin shipping on December 4th. Prices start at $11,500.

Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Internetnews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.

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