HP is upgrading its MSA range of storage arrays, emphasising its management capabilities. The new MSA2000 sees the company going “toe to toe” with EMC in the valuable small and mid-sized business market.

The 2000 is a direct replacement for the MSA1000, which came to market in 2001, and which will be phased out over the next two quarters. HP is pushing the management features of the new array saying management is built into the array with no additional licence cost and controlled through a browser making remote office or department management easy.

HP is pitching the MSA2000 for virtual servers where greater throughput, performance and management issues are more critical.

The array will carry up to 48 15000 rpm SAS or 7200 rpm SATA drives and tops out at 36TB of capacity with support for either 4Gb Fibre Channel (MSA2000fc) or 1Gb iSCSI (MSA2000i) host connectivity. Further new features for the latest offering include dual controllers for iSCSI, mix and match SAS and SATA drives, 4Gb fibre connections, higher density and snap and clone options.

“The AX4 (EMC’s entry level array) sits between the MSA2000 and the EVA range. We will compete toe to toe with EMC in the storage market; we are not just offering storage but a holistic infrastructure solution through the ability of the MSA2000 to work with HP tape libraries, and marry up with file server and enterprise clusters,” said Lee Johns, director of Marketing for Entry Storage & Storage Blades at HP.

On the software side for users new to snapshots, the firm is offering shared-licensing try for size-scheme with an eight-snap option on the MSA2000, which users can expand up to 64 Snaps if required.

The company said it sold 120,000 MSA1000s in six years of production. The 2000 will be available from March at an entry level European list price of €3.395. In 2007, HP claimed 21 percent of the entry-level external storage market, which it says was worth $2.8 billion in 2006.