Hewlett-Packard Co. is offering small businesses two new switches, two new servers, and a storage box. The best way to access the new technology is to call up your local value-added reseller and sign on for services designed around the new hardware, HP says.

HP delivers SMB bouquet of servers, switches and services

Palo Alto, Calif.-based Hewlett-Packard Co. (HP) announced a slew of new products and services targeted at small and mid-sized businesses (SMBs) yesterday, and recommended working with a local value-added reseller to get the goods.

HP says the SMB market is worth $234 billion, and its new products beef up its array of servers and networking hardware that smaller shops might use. The new products include two new servers to HP’s ProLiant line, two new network switches, and a storage box ready to be virtualized.

“We had taken this approach before,” says Duncan Campbell, vice-president of marketing for SMB at HP. “It’s now more vetted out through the new technology.”

The products released show that HP is keying into a small business trend that many vendors are playing into, says John Sloan, lead analyst at Info-Teach Research Group. Small firms have increasingly complex IT infrastructure requirements, but still lack the cash or staff of enterprise-level firms to solve them.

“HP is packaging up some servers and switches with a focus on low-cost barriers to entry and less management hurdles,” he says.

The products

HP ProLiant ML100 G7 is an entry-level server suitable for small businesses. It’s made simple to deploy and manage. It has enough computing horsepower to support basic office applications and some small vertical applications.

The ProLiant DL 120 G7 server is another step up in terms of computing power and can support more complex IT infrastructure, small Internet applications, and shared Web access. Both servers are in-part named after Intel’s G7 processor, which powers the boxes.

“What’s new to both servers is the remote management capability,” Campbell says. Both has HP’s Integrated Lights-Out (iLO) server management technology that allows for users to log-in from any location using a Web browser, allowing for busy entrepreneurs to be more flexible in running the servers day-to-day operation. “A lot of SMBs don’t have IT people running around to do this.”

HP also has two new switches available. The V1810-48G is a Web-managed switch offering 48 ports and HP promises it will play nice with multi-vendor networks. “It comes with a lifetime warranty,” Campbell says.

The V1410 is an unmanaged switch in HP’s Fast Ethernet series, ready to go out of the box and priced to be affordable. “It’s a simple plug and play type of switch,” Campbell says.

HP’s new storage box, the P2000 G3 Modular Smart Array is made to support VMware’s API for Array Integration and VMware vCenter, meaning it can be virtualized and managed with VMware software. It’s designed to make it easier for SMBs to virtualize their storage environment, and then monitor it using a graphical console. But Campbell says the box can be virtualized with other vendors’ virtualization options as well.

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Packaging in virtualization capability is significant, Sloan says. Usually larger companies running hundreds of boxes try to boil down their physical footprint in order to save money on a virtual environment, but lately many small businesses have been virtualizing too.

“It’s for ease of management,” the analyst says. “It might be easier to have two physical servers with a dozen virtual servers running on them. It also brings advantages around reliability and disaster recovery.”

HP will make these new products available for direct purchase, but expects most SMBs will seek out a local value-added reseller (VARs) to implement them. To that end, it’s created two new services that will be delivered through VARs, using the new hardware.

“Our experience is that in getting the level of support or intimacy, it’s best done with someone that has local feet on the ground near you,” Campbell says. “They drink beer with them, they play hockey with them. As it relates to the SMB, the channel is their trusted advisor.”

HP Branch Office Consolidation includes management software and hardware designed for mid-range companies that have some branch offices. It focuses on consolidating IT infrastructure and protecting company data.

HP StoreOnce D2D Backup System gives businesses an off-site storage option for backup and offers built-in deduplication to make best use of storage capacity. Though some vendors may describe this as “cloud storage,” HP wants to avoid that term and keep the emphasis on security. Data is encrypted as it leaves endpoints to be stored on the server.

“Because it’s remote, because it’s over the Internet,” Campbell says. “What is a little bit different is the level of security we give it. But it’s very cloud-like.”

Brian Jackson is Associate Editor at ITBusiness.ca. Follow him on Twitter, read his blog, and check out the IT Business Facebook Page.

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