HP Beefs Up SMB Server, Storage Offerings


Hewlett-Packard on Tuesday targeted the strong SMB IT market with two new servers and the addition of enterprise-class features to its SMB storage line.

HP also introduced a new backup service for SMBs, and unveiled new Ethernet switches for SMB customers.

The changes to HP's server and storage lineups comes as the SMB market continues to show strength, said Jim Ganthier, vice president of market for the company's industry standard servers and software.

Ganthier, citing Maynard, Mass.-based consulting firm International Planning & Research reports, said that about 60 percent of global IT spending is going towards the SMB market.

"If you look at SMBs, their issues and pain points are the same around the world," he said. "But most vendors offer stripped-down enterprise products. Instead of stripping out enterprise-class functions, we've added them to our SMB product line.

New from HP is the ProLiant ML110 G7 series of four entry-level tower servers. They feature 2-core or 4-core Intel Xeon E3 processors and four DIMM memory slots, and three models include integrated 6-port SATA RAID. Starting prices range from $749 to $1,455.

Also new is the ProLiant DL120 G7 series blade servers. The three new blade servers can use either the Intel Xeon E3 or Core i3 processors, and feature HP's ILO (Integrated Lights Out) software for setting up, provisioning, managing, and remote monitoring of servers. They also include HP's Smart Array RAID technology and ECC memory support, Ganthier said.

On the storage side, HP introduced new capabilities around its P2000 array, introduced last year as a successor to HP's older MSA array family.

HP, which sometime in the first quarter sold its 250,000th MSA/P2000 array, added a number of new features to boost the P2000 performance for SMBs, said Britt Terry, worldwide marketing manager for HP storage.

Foremost among the enhancements is compatibility with VMware vStorage APIs for Array Integration (VAAI), which offloads specific storage operations to supported disk arrays to increase storage performance in virtualized server environments.

The P2000 implementation of VAAI supports three commands, Terry said.

The first is block zero, a command which automatically writes zeros across a new virtual disk created with VMware ESX and confirms the operation with an administrator so that the administrator is not forced to wait for the process to finish.

The second is full copy, which applies a "gold" virtual server image to multiple arrays in a single action.

The third is hardware-assisted locking, which improves the performance of the locking of virtual machines for migration or copying by locking out only the required blocks of data instead of an entire LUN.

In addition to VAAI support, the P2000 also now supports new 3-TB SAS hard drives just coming to market, Terry said.

HP on Tuesday also unveiled its new HP PC Backup Services, a service provisioning incremental backups of data on customers' desktop and notebook PCs. The service also lets customers restore their own individual files or an entire data set. It also includes automatic deduplication to eliminate redundant storage of multiple copies of files, and built-in encryption to secure the data.

Pricing for the HP PC Backup Services starts at $5.95 per month per seat license for a 2-GB solution.