HP is targeting small- to medium-sized businesses with its latest storage products.

The company is set to launch the StorageWorks SB40c blade storage device, the company's first c-Class line of storage devices using the blade form factor and the StorageWorks VLS300 Enterprise Virtual Array (EVA) Gateway, virtual tape technology for data backup and recovery in a storage area network (SAN). HP says the VLS300 offers more than 500TB (terabytes) of storage capacity and can back up more than 8TB of data per hour. HP is also introducing the StorageWorks EVA-4000 SAN Starter Kit, a storage area network management package that simplifies SAN setup and operation.

The products are intended to help SMEs that have growing data storage needs but whose IT administrators may be intimidated by the complexity of a storage network, said Steve Gillaspy, BladeSystem group manager in HP's StorageWorks business.

The SB40c blade, which will be available by the middle of November, offers 876GB of direct-attached storage capacity, but in a blade form factor that takes up less space and uses less electricity in a data center than rack-mounted storage devices. The VLS300 EVA Gateway, for storing data on disks, allows customers to emulate up to 1,024 tape drives and 128 libraries of data. And the 8TB of throughput is fast, said Kyle Fitze, director of SAN marketing at HP StorageWorks. "In terms of performance and scalability, eight terabytes means that multiple backup jobs can be done simultaneously."

The list price of the VLS300, which will be available in mid-November, starts at $57,750.

The SAN Starter Kit offers automated SAN management through a centralised user interface for IT managers worried about the complexity of setting up a SAN, said Fitze. The Starter Kit, which is offered at a starting price of $33,000, is designated as a Microsoft Corp. Simple SAN solution.

The Starter Kit also features an Emulex Corp. 4G bps (bits per second) host bus adapter (HBA), which connects a server computer to a storage network, and will run on Emulex's EZPilot software. The Starter Kit will also feature a Brocade Communications Systems. SilkWorm Switch. By integrating the Emulex HBA and the Brocade switch, customers establishing their first SAN will be able to expand the network as their data needs grow, said Scott McIntyre, vice president of software marketing for Emulex. "We view this market as a great opportunity," said McIntyre.

The virtual tape library gateway product is an "important announcement" from HP, said Robert Amatruda, research director for tape and removable storage at IDC. Giving enterprises virtualised tape storage capability allows customers to store more data on their existing IT infrastructure.