Hewlett-Packard aims to tap into the growing need among small and medium sized businesses (SMBs) for high-capacity, networked storage with its new StorageWorks All-in-One (AiO) Storage Systems unveiled this week.
The company’s two new AiO Storage Systems align with Microsoft’s storage products and servers and are aimed at SMBs with little or no storage technology expertise. The systems offer the ability to easily store, share, manage, back up and protect applications, files and data, HP said.
“Developed from the ground up to address the specific problems SMBs face, the HP All-in-One Storage Systems deliver functionality without the complexity of competing offerings,” said Bob Schultz, senior vice president and general manager of HP’s StorageWorks division.
Single Source Simplicity
As the All-in-One moniker indicates, HP’s main selling point for the new networked storage technology is simplicity, and the new systems provide an “easy-to-use” graphical interface for storage tasks, the firm stated.
The AiO systems provide point-and-click functionality with Microsoft Exchange and SQL Server. In fewer than 10 clicks, for example, customers can fully set up shared storage for an Exchange mailstore, HP said.
The systems run Windows Storage Server 2003 R2 for disaster recovery and can back up and recover data from tape, virtual tape, optical or external disk on the network.
A significant migration is taking place among small businesses from direct attached storage to external networked storage, and whether or not HP’s solutions will truly simplify this process remains to be seen, IDC Director of Storage Research Dave Reinsel told TechNewsWorld. However, the new AiO systems appear to be on target, he noted.
“There’s a big need for this type of solution in the market,” he said. “A solutions-, applications-centric perspective” is the right one to take on the space.
Reinsel highlighted the difficulty of cracking the SMB market. Unlike larger enterprises, smaller businesses do not typically have as much high-level vision nor do as much planning when it comes to IT and storage. However, embedding its storage technology into its new solutions and aligning itself with Microsoft represents good strategy for HP, he said.
In releasing its new AiO systems, HP highlighted IDC research indicating more than 60 percent of all SMBs have not yet deployed network storage. However, the market for networked storage is poised to reach nearly US$6 billion by 2010.
The biggest reason so many SMBs have stuck with older, attached storage systems is the complexity of newer storage solutions and their lack of experience with them, HP Worldwide Director of SMB Solutions Debbie Young told TechNewsWorld.
“To them, storage is still too complex if you don’t have storage expertise,” she said.
To make the move to networked storage easier, HP’s AiO systems have built-in best practices, wizards and familiar messages that make moving data and setting protections simple for most SMB administrators, Young said.
While HP will be challenged in its bid to win over SMB customers, the potential rewards are significant, said IDC’s Reinsel.
“It is a big market,” he noted.