HP has released several upgrades and added new products to its mid-range storage line.

Its StorageWorks Data Protector software have been improved to improve disk-to-disk and disk-to-tape backup, and it has introduced its first array that can use both SCSI and Serial ATA disk.

The HP StorageWorks Modular Smart Array (MSA) 1500 CS offers tiered storage within a single enclosure behind a single controller shelf. It is targeted at small to mid-size businesses - people that HP has been aggressively courting recently.

The 1500 CS can scale to 24TB using 250GB SATA disk drives, and up to 16TB using 300GB SCSI drives. It can be managed by the same software that controls the ProLiant family of servers, said Frank Harbist, general manager of HP's network storage solutions software. Prices start at $8,995.

HP said it has added about 200 new functions to its StorageWorks Data Protector software in version 5.5, including advanced backup to disk and tape and to multiple targets. "So if you want to take a snapshot of the data once a minute, do replications once an hour, perform disk-based backup once a day and tape backup once a week, it can all be done on this one application," said Rick Luttrall, chief technology strategist for nearline storage at HP. "We can mirror to a disk drive or tape drive simultaneously. Also, we can restore from either one," Luttrall said.

Devin York, director of financial systems for Continental Airlines, said he likes the updates, and plans to upgrade from version 5.0 at the start of next year.

York currently has a storage-area network with about 20TB of capacity on two HP Storageworks XP512 arrays, and he says he likes the security of being able to save data to disk and tape simultaneously. "The one project I am working on next year is disk-to-disk backup. The problem with tape is that is as the data grows, I've got to keep adding expensive tape drives. With disk-to-disk backup, I can add extremely cheap storage as a staging device," York said.

HP's Data Protector software includes metadata and policies with every data set it stores, allowing it to be more easily restored or migrated between older and newer tape and disk technologies, Luttrall said.

HP also announced its version of the third generation of Linear Tape Open, or LTO-3, tape drive technology, increasing storage capacity from 400GB to 800GB compressed. HP's StorageWorks Ultrium 960 drive now also has write-once, read-many capability.

The Ultrium 960 tape drive will be available Monday, at an estimated retail starting price of $5,549. The HP StorageWorks MSA 1500 cs is available now, at an estimated retail starting price of $8,995.