Dell, Sun Eye SMB Buyers

Dell (NASDAQ:DELL) and Sun Microsystems (NASDAQ: JAVA) have launched products to help small to midsize businesses (SMBs) be more competitive and provide those businesses with substantial technologies, not just scaled-down enterprise products.

Dell’s offering is a pair of one-socket Xeon servers for the SMB market, while Sun’s is a little more comprehensive, offering hardware and software turnkey solutions.

Dell’s new servers are the R300 rack server and T300 tower server. Both use a single Xeon x5460 processor and support up to 24GB of memory, three times the typical amount in a single-socket SMB server. In announcing the servers, Dell made a variety of performance claims, in speed and power efficiency, against similar HP and IBM SMB servers.

The R300 and T300 come with hot-plug hard drives and redundant power supplies to maintain uptime in case of failure. They also offer self-service features such as the Trusted Platform Module (TPM) to strengthen security, enable better authentication and offer better encryption and protection of critical information.

The servers also include security features such as a chassis intrusion switch and lockdown of USB ports and bezels. These measures protect against unauthorized access to system hard drives, peripherals and the control panel.

Barry Jennings, chief SMB researcher for Dell, said just as IT has become a revenue driver for enterprises, it’s a concern for SMB as well. “SMBs are increasing tying computing purchases to top-of-line concerns,” he said on a conference call announcing the new servers. “Cost matters, but they don’t want it cheap. Reliability is king, and customers will pay more for reliable products and services that move their businesses forward.”

The PowerEdge R300 rack server starts at $1,249, and the T300 tower server is available starting at $999.

The Sun shines on CDW

Sun, never known to be SMB-friendly, has announced an SMB initiative to make it easy and affordable for smaller companies to buy Sun products, and has a new channel partner to do it.

The company will offer SunFire x64 and UltraSPARC-based servers running Windows, Linux or Solaris with a choice of databases in a turnkey solution, including Sun’s newest acquisition, the MySQL database.

These systems can be purchased through Sun Authorized Partners, the store or CDW.

“Sun is making it easier, faster and more cost-effective for SMBs to use technology to gain a competitive advantage,” said Lisa Sieker, vice president of SMB systems marketing for Sun, in a statement. “Our expanding partnerships with online national resellers focused on this market provide the easy engagement models and fast turnarounds that SMBs require.”

Smart move, Eunice said. “This is one thing Microsoft has done brilliantly over time, bundling — just have it together so you don’t have to go off and do separate evaluation of each product,” he said. “It could work for Sun as well.”

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