Brocade Communications Systems began offering discounted packages yesterday in Hong Kong to help push storage area network (SAN) deployment among local small and medium-sized businesses (SMB). The storage equipment provider hoped to raise its revenue from the SMB sector from one-third to more than 50 per cent in future, Brocade Asia-Pacific marketing director Fan Look said. 'SMBs make up a significant part of the revenues in many sizeable vendors like HP [Hewlett-Packard] and IBM. We are looking to the industry average - making [the segment] half of [our] total business,' Mr Look said. The company launched its SAN.Easy discount package yesterday, trying to convince local companies that SAN storage is an affordable option. For example, a low-end connection kit - including an eight-port Silk Worm 3200 FC switch, three small form pluggable transceivers, three 10-metre fibre channel cables and two Emulex LP8000 host base adapters - is priced at HK$138,000 to HK$300,000, depending on the software. 'It is almost a 20 per cent discount compared to the original price. Customers not only enjoy the discounts but the total solutions which are pre-configured. They can have SAN-enabled storage solutions implemented on to their existing infrastructure,' Mr Look said. Mr Look said local enterprises were starting to understand the benefits of storage networks. 'Despite the economic downturn, the demand for storage has been soaring. When a firm has gone computerised with its system, it needs to buy either disks or storage systems to support its data growth. 'While it takes over 10 hours for large-scaled LAN [local area network] back-up, SAN only requires one to two hours. Besides, when storage grows, they can just plug-and-play additional storage systems over the SAN structure, which is not allowed by a traditional direct attached network,' Mr Look said. Research firm International Data Corp expected the storage systems market in Hong Kong to grow from US$150.5 million in 2000 to US$255.7 million in 2005, at a compound annual growth rate of 11.2 per cent. The market could be worth US$205.1 million this year. Gartner interviewed 400 information technology executives in February and found that 58 per cent said their firms had implemented storage networks, while 29 per cent said they would deploy one in the coming 12 months. It forecast world demand to grow from 16.5 per cent of total storage sales in 2000 to 52.9 per cent by 2007, when the world market would exceed US$16.8 billion.