HP and Microsoft launch business appliances

The companies have announced a series of appliances that integrate HP hardware with Microsoft software to help SMBs and enterprises deal with business intelligence, databases and messaging

HP and Microsoft have taken another step in their year-old collaboration with the announcement of a range of new appliances.

The four jointly engineered appliances, announced on Wednesday, deal with business intelligence, data warehousing, messaging and database consolidation, and range in price from around £20,000 up to almost £1.25m.

"With our converged application appliances, HP and Microsoft enable customers to shorten the time required to deliver information, which helps to reduce risk and cost," Mark Potter, HP's general manager for industry-standard servers and software, said in a statement.

The announcement continues HP and Microsoft's $250m (£156m) three-year agreement to integrate their products for the small and medium-sized business market, which was announced in January 2010. The appliances go up against Oracle's Exadata and IBM's Netezza in the market for hardware-and-software packages for business services.

HP appliances

The HP E5000 Messaging System for Microsoft Exchange Server provides HP hardware pre-configured for the 2010 edition of Microsoft's email and collaboration server software. It is "a brand new product that has been jointly developed and engineered" by the partners, Paul Kember, HP's UK manager for industry-standard servers and software, told ZDNet UK.

The E5000 was made with common HP components as a part of HP's converged infrastructure strategy, he said. It will be available from March and pricing starts at £22,649. Microsoft Exchange Server 2010 will be licensed separately.

The HP Business Decision Appliance is designed around business intelligence and is optimised for Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 and SharePoint 2010. It is based on HP's existing ProLiant G7 range of servers. The appliance costs £20,499, which includes three years of HP hardware and software support and is available immediately. As with the other appliances, the Microsoft software licences are an additional cost.

In addition, the partners introduced the HP Database Consolidation Appliance, which is designed for consolidating databases into a single, virtual environment. It is geared for SQL Server 2008 R2 and Microsoft's Hyper-V Cloud, and it is expected to become available in the second half of this year.

Aimed at large corporations, HP Enterprise Data Warehouse Appliance for Microsoft SQL Server is a scalable storage array and data server with a capacity of up to 500TB of data. Available immediately, it has a starting price of close to $2m, which does not include Microsoft SQL Server 2008 R2 Parallel Data Warehouse.

Announced separately to the other appliances, and placed at the other end of the scale, HP Business Data Warehouse Appliance is a data store designed for small and medium-sized companies that is also based on HP's G7 servers. No pricing was released, and it is expected to go on sale in June.

Customers will be able to upgrade the software on the hardware either themselves or through an integration partner, a Microsoft representative told ZDNet UK on Wednesday.

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