HP unveils latest IT/CE crossover product

HP has redesigned the old black or beige coloured storage sub-system. The computing giant also slimmed the tower model down by more than half, chopped the price dramatically and boosted the capacity to reach 1.2 terabytes.

Called the Media Vault, the product is intended for two markets as a desktop add-on: The consumer market and the small business market, defined as 15 users and under.

Kate Smith, product manager for consumer desktops and storage at HP Canada, said the Media Vault is a crossover product that falls into the CE space with TVs and in the IT space with PCs.

“This brings media into your living room, and certainly from an IT perspective it is great for data sharing and backup. From a consumer perspective, we believe that all digital media will be in one space. Providing a secure environment will be important to both,” Smith said.

She added that the small business target market is broken down in three areas: the micro business of 15 employees or less, the home based business and the SOHO market.

This addressable market has many different IT environments, but typically they have multiple networked PCs with either the business owner acting as the IT decision-maker or an outside IT consultant. These businesses could also have a non-dedicated PC as a file and print server and require back up capabilities.

Currently, home servers have not taken off in the market because the price point is still too high at between $2,000 and $3,000 per unit, Smith said.

HP Canada is looking to distributors such as Ingram Micro Canada and Synnex Canada, who both have dedicated CE/IT divisions, to pick Media Vault up and recommend it to smaller VARs who cover the many communities across Canada.

“HP in the past could not reach this market and there is an opportunity for resellers to reach these markets,” Smith said.

With that, HP Canada is also providing customers with around the clock support through a help line.

The Media Vault starts at $399 for the 300 gigabyte model and $599 for the 500 gigabyte unit. Expansion to 1.2 terabytes would still be under $1,000, Smith said.

In order to scale up from the standard configurations users will need a SATA-based hard drive as HP does not offer standalone hard drives. An external USB drive is optional for portability. The product is compatible with Windows, Mac and Linux-based systems.

By comparison, the HP StorageWorks All-in-One storage system at 1.5 terabytes is priced at $6,700

The product covers four main uses: protection, sharing, simplification and entertainment.

Smith said the software included in the Media Vault can help users or small businesses continuously back up software, digital media files and other documents automatically on any type of schedule.

There is also one step disaster recovery if the hard drive fails, and the unit can be used as an archive storage server.

Users can share and manage documents, photos, and videos throughout the environment. With USB they have access to three printers from any PC in the environment.

In terms of simplification, the Media Vault can offload data to free up disk space from any PC.

And, with streaming media files for entertainment on the rise the Media Vault can be added to a Media Center PC.

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Paolo Del Nibletto
Paolo Del Nibletto
Former editor of Computer Dealer News, covering Canada's IT channel community.

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