HP debuts very low cost server for SMBs

HP debuts very low cost server for SMBs

Summary: HP has launched the ProLiant Microserver as part of its new 'Just Right IT' strategy, to wean small companies into the world of server computing

TOPICS: Servers

HP has introduced a low-cost starter server for small businesses.

On Wednesday, HP unveiled the HP ProLiant Microserver, intended for companies of between one and ten employees, as part of a new 'Just Right IT' marketing strategy aimed at small businesses. Costing £219, HP says it is aimed at individuals and organisations who are serverless and storing data ad-hoc on individuals' PCs.

"I see the Microserver as fitting a gap at the low end of the market," James Henry, business development manager for servers in the EMEA region at HP, told ZDNet UK on Wednesday. "Whereas before getting a server would be a step too far, this really simplifies it," he said, and by offering it at a low price point "it could be our first interaction with any of those customers".

The server has an AMD Athlon II dual core 1.3GHz processor and is available from today with 160GB of hard disk and 1GB of RAM, expandable by customers to a maximum of eight terabytes across 4 non hot-swappable SATA drives, and 8GB of RAM. The server has no optical drive as standard and does not ship with an operating system, though it has been fully certified and tested for Windows 2008 standard and foundation, Linux Red Hat 5, and is currently compatible, though not certified, with Ubuntu and Windows XP, Vista and 7.

Christian Keller, IBM's EMEA VP of industry standard servers, told ZDNet UK that the Microserver differed from ordinary PCs by having room for four disk drives with software RAID, ECC memory, an optional management module and a carefully selected 200w power supply. "It's there for file sharing, print sharing, to allow you to run applications. We don’t envision running a database on it or production control for thousands of employees on it  — that would be misuse — but financial accounting, print sharing, file sharing, there it is okay", he said.   "

HP feels that by offering the basic server at such a low price point it can entice customers into its hardware stable, said  Henry, and the lack of an operating system provides HP’s channel partners "a way to go to market with a simple value proposition and wrap their value services around it".

Gartner’s most recent report on the worldwide server market placed HP as the clear leader in terms of both shipped units and server revenue, having eclipsed prior king of the ring IBM in quarter one, 2010.


Topic: Servers

Jack Clark

About Jack Clark

Currently a reporter for ZDNet UK, I previously worked as a technology researcher and reporter for a London-based news agency.

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  • All well and good, but how is this different from another other cheap PC chassis? £219 gets you 1 proc, 2GB Ram and one HDD. Sure it supports SATA Raid, but so does every other cheap machine out there.
    Why not instead provide component servers which can be used to create a truly resilient infrastructure for small businesses. Moving everything from a number of PC's onto 1 file server isn't fixing a problem, it's simply making single points of failure more acute.

    Give me a small (and I mean SMALL) server chassis which I can use to build a simple cluster - better yet give me a cluster in a box (separate PSU's etc) with some smart storage and there you have a winner for small businesses.
  • Yes, that thought did occur to me. Why not do something useful, like resilient backup? Or an architecture that does fault tolerance?

    The answer lies in the marketing. If HP really did a cheap server that had those features, it would cannibalise its own servers (it would also steal a march on Dell, etc, but that's rarely the way people think). The Microserver is there to get people thinking in terms of servers, not to deliver a real enterprise-quality server at a consumer price.

    I find the funniest part, though, that it's being shipped as particularly suitable for non-so-technical users, but has no operating system and no DVD/CD-ROM drive. I'd like to see a not-so-technical user set one up!