Why wait for an improved economy? New customers of storage-networking products should benefit in 2004 as leading vendors try to cater to cost-conscious buyers. Dell and EMC on Monday promised to make a bigger push into commodity storage, and Hewlett-Packard introduced a low-cost storage array.
EMC will focus on low-end serial ATA disk-based storage and the iSCSI protocol during next year. The iSCSI protocol converts blocks of data into a form that won't choke the IP network. Dell will continue to provide distribution as the partners try to reach first-time storage networking customers.
HP is ready to ship HP StorageWorks Modular Smart Arrays to customers who want flexibility at a bargain price. Customers can even choose different levels of performance and pay accordingly. With these new systems, HP hopes to grab customers who've only worked with storage inside servers up until now.
An industry analyst agrees that serial ATA and iSCSI enhancements should help Dell and EMC get more customers onto SAN technology for the first time. "HP will be a player in the SMB market, but the Dell and EMC combination will definitely be a big player," says Mike Fisch of the Clipper Group. "Dell is just good at delivering commodity products to the market."