Figuring that small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) want the best in IT advances too, HP on Wednesday unleashed a barrage of products and services that use integration, low-cost, and simplicity to bring cutting edge enterprise IT capabilities to the global mid-market.
The new products and services -- ranging from the $329 HP ProLiant MicroServer to $424 minitower PCs to simplified virtualization, networking and storage bundles -- come from multiple organizations across HP, but with a singular Goldilocks target of “Just Right IT” for SMBs. [Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.]
The slew of value-oriented offerings is also designed to give HPs various global channel partners a new horse to ride into town on as the SMBs look beyond recession-reckoning for how to grow their operations while becoming more productive. The products and services are also available from HP directly.
HP is also putting financial muscle behind the channel partners and users by providing aggressive financing options leasing, life cycle asset management and upgrade services. HP Financial Services is the second-largest captive IT leasing company in the world, said HP. Leasing provides SMBs with flexibility (with no or low upfront payments) and a path to migrate to newer technology.
While the value and utilization benefits of virtualization have been quickly adopted by larger companies and IT departments, the use of hypervisors has been slower in SMBs. To help solve that, HP has developed more complete virtualization environments using Virtualization Smart Bundles with Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2. The bundles target storage, servers and networking virtualization technology uses.
The SMB-targeted worker productivity releases include:
- HP ProLiant MicroServer, an energy-efficient file server designed for businesses with up to 10 employees to centralize information and securely access files faster (at about half the size and 50 percent quieter than most entry-level servers)
- Web connectivity in the low-cost HP Officejet Pro 8500A e-All-in-One series and HP Officejet 7500A Wide Format e-All-in-One, which allow users to send print jobs from mobile devices as well as access content from the web without a PC.
- Slashed costs and energy use in the now-available HP 500B and 505B Series Business Desktop PCs, mini-towers installed with Windows 7 with Intel or AMD processors
- Simplified HP Insight with Microsoft System Center Essentials 2010 for monitoring and management of IT from a single console so midsize businesses can adopt or expand use of virtualized servers and storage.
The SMB-targeted storage management releases include:
- Storage advancements via the 10GbE iSCSI capabilities of the HP StorageWorks P2000 G3 Modular Smart Array (MSA), which speeds the server/storage connection bandwidth by 10 times.
- HP ITSM Assessment for Virtualized Environments Service for increased system availability and process improvements
- HP Data Protector Express 5.0 Software, designed for the general user for managing data backup and recovery on single servers as well as small networks in Windows, Linux and NetWare environments.
- Simplified shared storage with the HP P4000 Virtual SAN Appliance (VSA) so those using virtualized servers (deployed on Microsoft Hyper-V or VMware virtual machines) can move to shared storage without purchasing costly physical storage area network infrastructure.
The SMB-targeted networking and communications releases include:
- HP voice-over-IP and wireless offerings with the HP V-M200 802.11n Access Point Series, which connects up to 64 simultaneous mobile users to the network at wire-like speeds.
- HP VCX 9.5 IP Telephony system and 350x IP Phones (starting at $119), which enable the convergence of voice and data onto a single network infrastructure.
SMBs are where economists look for growth to emerge from recessions, and in developing countries. For years, though, large IT vendors have focused on the top ends of the IT market. It makes a lot of sense for HP to scale the technology and offerings down to the SMBs -- which is a huge total market, poised for unprecedented growth in the world's most populous regions.
Fact is, too, that due to proliferating mobile devices and wireless networks, nearly all companies of any size need to deeply embrace technology and networking to remain competitive. Data explosion also makes it unavoidable to bring in managed storage and backup, not to mention the burgeoning requirements of security and managed access.
While many of us analysts harp on about the virtues and inevitability of cloud computing, for many small companies and in many regions, the promise of cloud cannot be considered until the basics of IT are modernized and managed.
Mobile devices alone can not take the place of a LAN and managed storage. In many ways, these new HP products and bundles -- with their pricing and simplicity -- can be seen as stepping stones for SMBs to soon be able to exploit the value and potential of cloud-based services, too.
And then we actually might see these SMBs leap-frog their larger corporate brethren, rather than be seen as a lagging market category, in regards to IT productivity and enablement. And wouldn't that be exciting?
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