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SMB Storage Face-Off

Hewlett-Packard is the latest to offer a $5,000 NAS-iSCSI appliance, with EMC and Network Appliance already in the fray.

The new small-business emphasis also has helped vendors expand their channel base as well.

Forty-five of NetApp's approximately 285 U.S. midrange and enterprise partners already have signed up for the StoreVault small-business offering, and the company is set to add an additional 700 or so small-business partners in the United States via Tech Data, said Sajai Krishnan, general manager of NetApp's StoreVault business unit.

CommandGlobal and Connected both signed up with NetApp since the StoreVault introduction.

CommandGlobal has shifted its small-business storage focus from Quantum and Adaptec's Snap line to NetApp's StoreVault, Pryor said. "NetApp has been able to scale down enterprise technology to small-business appliances," he said. "So small businesses get access to enterprise technology without investing all their budget."

EMC, Hopkinton, Mass., already has signed up 1,100 solution providers for its Velocity SMB program, two-thirds of which are in the United States, said Larry Zulch, EMC vice president and general manager of EMC Insignia. "EMC is newer to the SMB space than some, but we can take advantage of the places where the others messed up," he said.

Creative Associates signed up with EMC after the vendor unveiled its Insignia small-business program, said Mitch Feather, vice president of the Madison, N.J.-based solution provider.

While HP has the classic love-hate relationship with the channel, he said, EMC Insignia has set itself apart because of its support for the small-business channel, Feather said. "There's EMC core and EMC Insignia," he said. "With EMC Insignia, you feel right away that you have a long-term relationship with the vendor. We've been with EMC Insignia a couple months, but we feel like we've been working with them for years."

HP, sensing the small-business market offensive from rivals, this week released two models in its All-in-One line.

The AiO400 comes with a raw Serial ATA (SATA) capacity of 1 Tbyte and a list price of $5,000.

The AiO600 starts at 1.5 Tbytes or 3.0 Tbytes of SATA storage or 876 Gbytes of SAS storage with a list price starting at $6,700, including redundant power supplies and fans.

The All-in-One units are aimed at easy configuration by solution providers, said Harry Baeverstad, NAS director for the StorageWorks division at HP.

For instance, to migrate an Exchange e-mail database from a direct-attached storage device to the All-in-One, the solution provider clicks on the Migration Tool which asks for the name of the Exchange server. Once the software discovers the server and the Exchange data, the installer clicks again, and the appliance automatically configures such things as RAID level and storage quota, and then migrates the data, Baeverstad said.

There are similar tools for SQL Server and Microsoft FileShare, he said. The All-in-Ones also include snapshot and virtual tape capabilities, and HP's Data Protector Express backup software, he said.

Bob Schultz, senior vice president and general manager of the StorageWorks division at HP, said the difference with the All-in-One is simplicity. "Today, if you take the typical NAS or SAN application, you need about 28 steps to do the set-up," Schultz said. "With the All-in-One, it's six to 10 mouse clicks."

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