HP has opted to take the mid-market array battle to EMC with its latest EVA 4400, just weeks after saying it planned to face-off with its rival in the low-end storage market.

In an unusually aggressive tone, HP said it "held a challenge of array products comparing the EVA 4400 and EMC's competing storage array [Clariion]."

The latest box replaces the 4100 EVA, which will reach end of life in around six months. HP claims the new model is twice as fast by I/O and overall throughput and, with a starting price of €15,000 (£11,450), is 20 percent cheaper. HP emphasised a Smart Start feature for Windows, for quick set-up and automation of array management at local and remote levels.

"The 4400 has greater functionality for creating and destroying LUNs (Logical Unit Numbers) and snapshots," said Kyle Fitz, Storageworks marketing director at HP.

On the virtualisation front, HP said the 4400 allocates capacity to applications dynamically and uses dynamic capacity management as a type of thin provisioning. Part of its mid-market pitch for users running 10 to 100 servers is ease of fixture, with 80 percent of components being "customer fixable."

"Third-party testing has shown that IT managers spend up to 75 percent less time managing the EVA," because of its superior ease of use to rival arrays from EMC and NetApp, HP claimed.