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RealTime IT News

Low-Cost Server Highlights HP's SMB Push

HP today plans a series of announcements aimed at the small to medium sized business in the hopes of raising its profile in the SMB market.

The news is the latest in a series of campaigns by HP and other major computer vendors to try and win more sales in the potentially lucrative, but often finicky, SMB market.

On tap for HP today at an event in San Francisco will be 12 new products, including a new server, notebook computers and desktops. According to IDC, the company already sells more PCs, servers and hard-copy peripherals worldwide to SMBs than any other company.

The HP Proliant ML115 is based on a single-core AMD Athlon64 3500+ processor and includes an 80GB SATA hard drive and 512MB of memory. For customers needing more performance, the ML115 is also available at a with more storage (up to four hard drives) memory and choice of a dual-core AMD Opteron 1000 processor.

Other options include a remote management card. HP said it designed the ML115 to help SMBs with networking, file-and-print, shared Internet access, small team e-mail and LAN infrastructure. The ML115 was designed with what HP said are desktop PC acoustics so it can run beside or under a desk without a big noise distraction.

"You might think customers in the emerging markets and SMBs are different than enterprise customers, but from talking to them, we found their pain points are very similar," Krista Satterthwaite, group manager of industry standard server marketing for HP, told internetnews.com. "They all want to grow their business, lower their costs and mitigate risks."

Beginning at $499, the ML115 runs $100 less than HP's previous lower-cost model, an Intel-based ML 110.

"Emerging markets and SMBs are really price-sensitive. Price is a critical concern," said Satterthwaite. "This is the first server of its kind we've offered at such an aggressive price point."

The concern over price drives some SMBs to try and get more bang from their buck than the systems are designed to handle. Satterthwaite notes, for example, that some customers use lower-cost desktop computers as servers, a practice she advises against.

"Those systems aren't tested to run 24x7; they don't have features like ECC  memory or a server operating system so they're not a good solution," she said. "We're coming in at a price point we think will move customers to these servers as a better alternative."

HP's other introductions include the HP Compaq 6515b and 6715b notebook PCs integrated with broadband, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth wireless technologies. The two notebooks are powered by AMD's 64 X2 dual-core processor.

Networking is also on the agenda, with HP debuting the 1400 and 1700 series of network switches backed by a lifetime warranty. HP will also announce the release of the HP Compaq dx2300 Business Desktop PC based on Intel's Core 2 Duo processors.

The company also debuted a new section on its SMB Web site called Small Business Connection, which will it hopes will become a "one stop" location for SMB resources.

Today's announcement rush is similar to the company's "The computer is personal again" marketing campaign, which last year accompanied the debut of new products to boost computer sales.