Network Storage Sneak Peek

As more small businesses look to move from direct-attached storage to network storage, vendors are waiting patiently in the wings with a raft of new products and partner incentives.

A recent survey of 5,000 SMBs found that the percentage implementing iSCSI SANs nearly doubled from 2005 to 2006, according to market-research firm Peripheral Concepts.

In addition, the percentage of SMBs storing more than one-third of their data on NAS grew to 44 percent, up from 29 percent in 2005, the survey found.

Heeding customers' wishes and hoping to bolster its own storage business, HP has tapped a new executive to head up its SMB storage drive and unveiled a new all-in-one storage system for small and midsize businesses.

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HP's Harry Baeverstad, formerly director of the company's entire NAS business, will now lead SMB efforts within HP's StorageWorks division. Baeverstad will head up product strategy and programs such as Simply StorageWorks, which is designed to help VARs make the transition from selling DAS to selling network storage.

In May, HP will ship its StorageWorks 1200 All-in-One Storage System, the latest appliance in its line for smaller shops without in-house storage expertise. The appliances combine both NAS and iSCSI SAN capabilities.

The 1200 enables users to combine both SATA and SAS within the 12-drive, 2U enclosure. With up to 9 TB of total capacity, the 1200 is the densest, and most expensive, system in the All-in-One line. Pricing ranges from $8,759 to $19,529.

For midsize businesses using HP storage, the vendor also rolled out a new version of its storage resource management software, Storage Essentials SRM.

Unlike the enterprise version, the standard iteration manages only HP storage. It's integrated with HP's Systems Insight server management software, enabling users to manage HP servers and storage from a single interface. Also, the standard version doesn't include modules for provisioning or departmental-level usage-based billing, or capabilities to view systems across global sites.

The software, which costs $37,000, will be available in the second quarter of 2007 through HP and the channel.

Meanwhile, Adaptec launched the first formal partner program around its Snap Server NAS appliances geared at SMBs and small enterprises.

The initiative, dubbed the Authorized Solution Provider program, is designed to encourage increased sales of solutions that combine hardware and software.

"We didn't really have a partner program before, which worked fine for selling basic NAS, but now that we're moving into solutions, we really need a set of partners we're investing in who are investing in us too," says John Noellert, vice president of Americas channel sales and marketing at Adaptec.

The vendor will focus on enhancing existing solutions, and developing new ones, around consolidation, backup and replication in the next year, Noellert says.

For solution providers that qualify for the Authorized Solution Provider program, Adaptec will provide deal registration opportunities, leads, training and assigned sales, and system engineering coverage in the field.

Also new on the product front, Iomega has refreshed the high end of its NAS line for SMBs. The vendor's new StorCenter Pro NAS 450r Series are 1U rack-mount file servers that improve the performance and power consumption of their predecessor, the 400r.

The 1-TB and 2-TB models are available for less than $5,000.

Not to be left out of the SMB party, NetApp continues to woo channel partners with its StoreVault S500 storage array. The company has added support for VMware and the BakBone NetVault backup software.

"The SMB penetration we're seeing is very broad," says Sajai Krishnan, general manager of NetApp's StoreVault division. "It's not just the usual suspects in legal, accounting and health care. We have customers at art museums, dance companies and fire departments."

Vendors turn to the channel to boost sales and help SMBs migrate to network storage