Introducing the HP Data Vault

by Alex Kuretz on September 29, 2009 · 9 comments

in News

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It’s no secret that Windows Home Server can be an excellent tool for small businesses that need a simple way to store and protect their valuable data. I’ve helped other MVP’s extol the virtues of Windows Home Server and have set it up at my own job to reliably back up the workstations in the office. I’ve even heard suggestions that Microsoft should make a name change to better portray the fact that Windows Home Server doesn’t just have to be limited to the role of Stay At Home Server.

There are many small businesses with fewer than 10 employees that have no server installed and no Information Technology staff, yet they understand that having some form of backup and reliable storage is of strategic importance to their business. HP has recognized that these small businesses may have never heard of Windows Home Server or might be hesitant to purchase a consumer oriented product for their business needs, and has announced a new product that aims to be the Small Business Information Technology Solution. The HP StorageWorks X510 Data Vault (aka HP Data Vault) is designed for small businesses with up to 10 PC clients and Macs that need a simple way to protect valuable business data, share files with co-workers and connect remotely.

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The HP Data Vault is effectively a MediaSmart Server EX495 with a new name badge slapped on it. The hard drive capacity and available configurations are the only notable differences in both hardware and software. Rather than cover all the features in the 3.0 software included with the HP Data Vault, I’ll refer you to my comprehensive review of the EX490 and EX495, as well as my follow-on closer look at the EX495 hardware article for a look at the insides of the server. The Data Vault will be available in three models with the only differentiation being the number and capacity of included hard drives.


Specification X510 1TB X510 2TB X510 3TB
Product # Q2050A Q2051A Q2052A
Processor Intel Pentium Dual-Core 2.5GHZ 64bit
RAM 2 GB DRAM
Included Storage 1.0 TB (1 drive) 2.0 TB (2 drive) 3.0 TB (2 drive)
Network 10/100/1000 RJ45 gigabit ethernet
Expandability 4 total internal SATA drive bays
4 USB 2.0 ports
1 eSATA port
Dimensions Width: 14cm (5.5″)
Height: 25cm (9.8″)
Depth: 23cm (base) – 25cm (top) (9.2″-9.5″)
Price $699 $859 $999

I have confirmed with HP that the processor is the same E5200 as is in the EX495, and that the eSATA port is port multiplier aware so you can connect an external storage enclosure such as the Sans Digital TR5M for massive storage expansion capabilities. The Data Vault also has the same 1-year warranty, though I would expect to see an extended warranty plan available.

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This is the first Windows Home Server product to come out of the StorageWorks group at HP, and they’ve obviously leveraged the existing platform delivered by the MediaSmart Server team. The big differentiators I see are the target audience and new route to market that become available for a business oriented product. It doesn’t take much effort to sell the benefits of Windows Home Server once a customer has learned about the ease of use, expandability and reliability that it provides. I think it’s also in the right price range for many small businesses, and while the 3.0 HP software was designed primarily for the home user a business may also find value in the Remote Access and Media features. Resellers will also have access to new sales channels and have good opportunity to include a Data Vault with other IT purchases for their customers.

I serve as the informal IT adviser to several friends with small businesses, and since I began using Windows Home Server it’s been my recommendation for those that need a reliable backup and storage solution for their office. One friend runs a plumbing company and the MediaSmart Server backs up the three PCs used in his office as well as his wife’s graphic design business. Another friend is a self employed software developer, and was recently able to use his MediaSmart Server to restore one of his test systems that suffered a hard drive failure. In future cases like this I’ll be considering the Data Vault as my recommended solution, especially as we learn more details about the warranty and support processes for business customers.

I have a request into HP for a review unit and I’ll be sharing more info as I get it. What do you think about the HP Data Vault? Are you a small business owner that would find value from this, and if so will you be purchasing one? Are you a reseller or integrator that will be promoting the Data Vault as the important backup and storage solution for your small business customers?





Article by

I'm Alex Kuretz, and I'm the founder of MediaSmartServer.net. I was the Lead Test and Integration Engineer at HP for the MediaSmart Server until April 2008 when I moved on to other opportunities outside HP. I've kept active in the Windows Home Server community, creating several add-ins and helping users make the most of their Home Servers.


{ 9 comments }

Damian September 29, 2009 at 8:19 am

Alex – why would anyone buy the X510 1TB series when you can get the EX495 with 1.5TB for the same price?

Alex Kuretz September 29, 2009 at 9:27 am

Damian, that’s a good question and one I also had for HP. To the knowledgeable enthusiast the decision is simple – get the same hardware with a little more storage for less money. I think the reality of the purchase is a bit different, however. You won’t see the Data Vault sitting on a shelf next to the MediaSmart Server so there is no direct retail sales comparison. You’ll be able to buy the DataVault on the HP website, but most sales are expected to be generated via the reseller channel. Also, businesses are price conscious but do seem willing to pay a bit more in order to get the perceived (and sometimes real) value of higher quality and better support that often accompanies a product targeted specifically for them.

I think HP’s goal of also introducing this product through the WHS community and getting us engaged is a recognition of our value as unofficial (and in some cases official) IT support staff that guide the technology decisions of our less informed family, friends and associates.

Diehard September 29, 2009 at 9:50 am

Dave at homeservershow.com is reporting 10 to 20 users. Could this be why ? I thought WHS had a limit of 10 connectors.

Alex Kuretz September 29, 2009 at 9:54 am

Good catch John, the idea is that many small businesses may have 10-20 employees (which I believe is the wording HP used) but 10 or less PCs. For example, my buddies plumbing company has 10-12 employees but only 3 computers in the office so they fit the profile of 10-20 employees and stay within the constraints of the 10 client limit of WHS. There are no changes to the number of supported clients in WHS.

Cougar September 29, 2009 at 10:33 am

I think it’s a great idea and I’m looking forward to seeing more information on this one. Quite a few of us have discussed, or deployed WHS to businesses and having a unit that may have the business support that companies need is great. I’m keen to see how HP have thought about integrating with other key business tools, email, backup and obviously what we’ll see on the console.

Texas-Hansen September 29, 2009 at 11:06 am

Looks like the Hardware forum will be getting another member soon. :)

Interesting approach by HP and it makes good sense. I would have thought the warranty and the support would be significantly enhanced for this product given its target of businesses and the fairly significant increase in cost over the nearly identical consumer version of the EX495.

Greg H September 29, 2009 at 1:51 pm

So, just like every “business class” product, you’re expected to pay more for it.

Slap a new label on it, and its automatically “business class”?

Its just like paying more for a phone line because you use it in a business. more for internet service just because its for a business?

More for a server that is basically the same, but more $ for it.

who runs HP marketing these days?

Cougar September 29, 2009 at 5:02 pm

From what i’ve seen; the prices are pretty similar for the MSS and the DV in the UK and as they are business models, you can expect some variance between vendors as well.

Wonder if this opens up some better spares avenues for us all as well?

Jason September 29, 2009 at 5:03 pm

When I purchased my EX485 I moved my home brew WHS to my wife’s small dental practice which currently has six machines in need of backup (will eventually be 8 or 9) as well as reliable file sharing in the enterprise.

I love the solution, but the one gaping hole in it is that MS still offers no painless way to do automated backups of the WHS system partition or the WHS data store.

I use (and appreciate) Alex’s add-in for this task but I would still like to see MS address this, especially as HP and others see the value of using WHS in a small business environment (where it works really really well!)

I am contemplating an EX495 (but will probably wait for Vail next year) and if/when I do replace my EX485 it will likely go into my wife’s business where I will appreciate the smaller foot print and lower power usage.

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