Hewlett-Packard Co. is to launch a new Network Attached Storage (NAS) server that it claimed would cost $5,000 less than the least expensive Windows Powered NAS array in its current product line.

The StorageWorks NAS 1000s will list at $2,999, and will include a number of features already available in HP's more expensive StorageWorks products, including the ability to replacing storage drives without stopping the machine, and a "quick restore" mechanism that lets users restore the machine to its original "factory install" state within 15 minutes, HP said.

"Our goal here is to deliver an enterprise level device at an entry level cost," said Mark Nagitis, HP's director of product marketing for infrastructure and network storage solutions. "One of our target markets for this device is the enterprise branch office," he said.

The storage servers will be based on 2.8GHz Pentium 4 processor machines with 512M bytes of RAM built by Taiwanese original equipment manufacturer Quanta Computer Inc. They will contain four ATA (Advanced Technology Attachment) hard disks that will vary in size between 80G bytes and 250G bytes each, depending on the machine. The $2,999 model will use 80G-byte disks; a $4,999 model will contain 160G-byte components; and a $6,999 model will ship with 250G-byte drives, giving it a total storage capacity of 1T bytes.

The main differences between the 1000s and HP's next model up, the StorageWorks NAS b2000, will be that the b2000 is based on a Proliant, rather than Quanta, architecture; that it uses higher performing SCSI (small computer serial interconnect) rather than ATA drives, and that the more expensive b2000 will have specialized hardware that handles the system's RAID (redundant array of independent disks) processing. RAID on the 1000s will be done by software running on the system's microprocessor.

The new systems will run Windows Powered OS, a customized version of Windows that is optimized for file serving.