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HP has reworked the low-end of its storage line to give small and medium-sized companies a bit more selection and to save them some time with pre-packaged storage and server bundles.

The StorageWorks Modular Smart Array (MSA) line consists of three new products. The most basic system is the MSA30 targeted at departmental or workgroup use. It is complemented by the larger MSA500, which can be used for consolidating data onto a single system. And still higher up the food chain is the MSA1000 - an entry-level SAN (storage area network) box.

The systems start at $3,200, $5,700 and $9,995, respectively. HP is looking to beat IBM and EMC/Dell on price.

For customers ready to buy the proverbial SAN-in-a-can, HP is offering three different pre-packaged kits.

One kit comes with two of HP's ProLiant DL380 servers and a MSA500 system along with two host bus adapters and other cabling. HP is targeting this product at remote offices that have limited IT support assistance. HP is offering a similar package with the MSA1000 and an eight port Fibre Channel switch for customers looking to support up to 20 servers. HP also has several other high availability product groupings.

These moves build on a continuing trend among the major vendors to go after small and medium-sized companies. Vendors are looking for these types of customers to move toward networked storage as replacements for direct attached systems.

Both IBM and the EMC/Dell tandem appear to have been quite successful with this strategy in the last couple of quarters. ®

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