HP Expands Midrange Hardware, Software Offerings

HP continues efforts to woo the midsized business market, today introducing new hardware and software offerings designed to appeal to those customers’ specific needs.

Among today’s releases are a new rackmount server, a new blade for HP’s existing chassis, Linux support offerings and tie-ins for Seibel CRM, Oracle 10g database and secure remote access via Citrix.

The feature set reads like those associated with enterprise-level offerings. But Urs Renggli, director of HP’s TSG small and mid-market business at HP, said enterprise concerns are migrating down to smaller businesses.

“Midsized businesses are competing now not just with each other but also enterprises that figured out IT should be a profit center,” he told InternetNews.com. “As a result of that, CRM has really bubbled up as a major investment area. I think we’re going to see customers putting money into it in the coming months and years.”

Just as large enterprises did a few years earlier, smaller firms now realize that IT could be not just an operations support system, but also a profit driver and a competitive tool, he said.

However, these companies don’t want a watered-down, diluted enterprise solution. On the other hand, they don’t have time for a six-month procurement process the way a Fortune 500 company might — and they don’t have the staff for a lengthy rollout.

“It’s slowly moving down to the mid-market, but we approached it in a different way,” Renggli said. “We’re not selling the products we sell to enterprises. All of the products are designed for the mid-market. We’re giving guidance to channel partners and ISVs, providing them with sales tools and technical tools, enabling him to sell this business solution to their target market.”

Chief among the new mid-market products introduced today is HP’s ProLiant BL260c G5 server blade and ProLiant DL120 G5 rackmount server. The G5 blade fits into the c7000 and c3000 chassis, but HP said the unit is 20 percent cheaper and 64 percent more power-efficient than other blades.

The G5 runs a single processor Xeon, holds up to 24GB of memory and supports both RAID and HP’s StorageWorks storage connectivity and redundant networking. The DL120 is a 1u server running a single dual-core and quad-core Celeron, Core 2 or Pentium processors, supports DDR2 memory and comes with Serial Attached SCSI (SAS) Host Bus Adapters (HBAs) and Smart Array Controllers.

Pricing for the HP ProLiant BL260c will start at $1,199 while the ProLiant DL120 system will start at US $699.

HP today also introduced HP Insight Control Environment for Linux (ICE-Linux), designed to help midsized businesses better manage their server and cluster environments by monitoring system and high-performance cluster health. The solution is built on HP’s Systems
Insight Manager
(SIM) infrastructure.

The company also debut another Linux offering — HP Linux Oracle Quick Reference Solutions, pre-sized configurations of HP and Oracle database components for Linux-based HP ProLiant servers. The configurations are designed for systems of 75 to 400 users. Pricing starts at $289.

To broaden its CRM portfolio, HP is adding five Oracle 10g databases as an option for customers, along with Oracle Siebel CRM Professional Edition configurations, all validated by Oracle.

The offering complements HP’s existing Microsoft Dynamics CRM offerings.

The company today also announced HP Secure Remote Access, which helps midsized businesses provide secure connections to desktop PCs, thin clients, business notebooks, tablet PCs, iPAQ handhelds and smartphones. This is done through Citrix Access Essentials, which is bundled with Windows Server 2003 and Microsoft Small Business Server 2003 R2.

Finally, HP said it would begin offering AMD’s oft-delayed Quad-Core Opteron across all server products that currently carry dual-core Opterons.

Anil Miglani, senior vice president of research firm AMI Partners, said HP’s offerings are aiming to address growing needs among midsized businesses.

“For a number of years, midsized firms were making IT purchases on an ad hoc kind of basis,” Miglani said. “The focus on business was not there. What they are finding now is what enterprises learned, they want to bring in the IT and integrate them with their business processes and integrate them with their offerings.”

“In that respect, I think HP’s offerings are moving in the right direction because most of these are infrastructure-related offerings, and businesses can use them to integrate with their business processes with tangible results,” he said. “So in that sense, HP’s offerings today are a step in the right direction.”

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