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HP and Microsoft flog NAS to

As you do

HP and Microsoft have teamed up to flog network attached storage (NAS) products and services to the burgeoning, but notoriously difficult to target European small and medium-sized business sector.

The snappily titled "Easy as NAS" programme will offer storage advice to smaller organisations, which typically do not have large - or in some cases any - dedicated in house IT staff.

However, a cynical observer cannot help but note that a major chunk of the "advice" on offer centres on showing firms how to migrate from existing Microsoft NT4 and Netware environments, onto the recently-launched Windows Storage Server 2003 - which coincidently is the platform of choice for all currently shipping HP StorageWorks NAS boxes.

The scheme provides NAS technical training, education, hands-on expert guidance and support services in areas such as multi-protocol, file-and-print-level data access and remote storage management. It includes a "Buy and Try" feature which allows customers to test-drive HP StorageWorks NAS solutions before coughing up.

Easy as NAS promotes a wide range of Windows-based HP NAS systems, including the HP StorageWorks NAS 1000 and NAS 2000s. Easy as NAS will also cover the new HP StorageWorks NAS 1200s, 4000s and 9000s devices, which will goes on sale on November 15.

The initiative has gone live in the United Kingdom, Austria, Belgium, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Sweden and Switzerland, with additional Easy as NAS-supported countries to be announced in subsequent months. It would appear to form part of a recent SME marketing offensive on HP's part, coming as it does after the firm's recently introduced "HP Smart Office" and the joint "Ready Office" programme with Alcatel. ®

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