HPE Targets SOHOs, SMBs With New Servers, Linux OS Bundles

HPE is making a SOHO and SMB server play as it bundles ClearOS Linux on ProLiant servers and unveils several new servers targeting small and midsized business customers.

Among the new servers introduced on Monday at HPE Discover 2017 are new rack and tower models targeting SMB customers, and the return of the MicroServer line targeting small office and home office (SOHO) customers.

HPE sees a lot of evolution in the SMB market, especially in smaller businesses, said Tim Peters, vice president and general manager of HPE’s ProLiant rack and tower servers and SMB solutions

[Related: HPE Unveils Hyper-Converged Infrastructure Based On ProLiant DL380 Servers]

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SMB and SOHO customers look at how things like the cloud and hyper-converged infrastructure promise simplicity, and at the same time see security to be a major issue, Peters told CRN.

"So we are looking at how to take away the complexity while increasing security and, as always, help customers save money," he said.

To do this, HPE has signed an exclusive partnership with Salt Lake City-based ClearCenter, developer of the ClearOS Linux operating system. Under that partnership, HPE will load, configure and support ClearOS on HPE's SMB servers at no extra charge, Peters said. Customers with ProLiant 100 and ProLiant 300 servers can also download the operating system at no cost, he said.

ClearOS is a proven Linux operating system with over 400,000 deployments to date, Peters said. "It provides a very simple user environment," he said. "It also includes an app marketplace with over 140 apps, and that number will grow as HPE works with it."

ClearOS will be available at no cost to partners and customers, and partners can sell four different levels of support priced from $9 to $129 per month, he said. ClearOS is an attractive alternative to smaller customers, Peters said.

"The license cost for Microsoft Server 2016 is not $500," he said. "It used to be $300. Microsoft is trying to make Azure more attractive," Peters added.

ClearOS is trying to be an "instant-on" operating system, said Bill Cassidy, CTO at IT Partners, a Tempe, Ariz.-based solution provider and HPE channel partner.

"It has its place, an attraction for a certain type of customer," Cassidy told CRN.

However, for a large part of the customer base above the small business level, the question of pre-installed Linux may not be such an issue, Cassidy said.

"The majority of servers we sell will end up with vSphere on them," he said. "I'd say this is common in the HPE channel. And vSphere is now often installed from a card."

For SOHO customers, HPE is reintroducing its MicroServer line of servers, Peters said. The new models, based on HPE's new Gen10 server platform and available with AMD dual-core Opteron processors, fits in a 9-inch by 9.25-inch by 10-inch chassis with integrated graphics that supports up to two 4K displays or an optional Radeon GPU that supports up to five 4K displays, he said. They include a Gigabit Ethernet port and room for four SATA hard drives or SSDs.

Pricing for the MicroServer starts at $399 or less.

HPE previously offered a Gen8-based MicroServer, but did not offer one based on its Gen9 architecture, Peters said. "That was our mistake," he said.

HPE also introduced a couple of entry-level SMB servers.

The DL20 is the shortest depth rack-mount server with a 15-inch depth, Peters said.

The DL20 is based on the Intel Core i3, Pentium, or Xeon processor with two or four cores, and comes with up to 64GBs of memory, integrated graphics or an optional NVidia GPU, and room for four small form factor or two large form factor drives. The ClearOS Linux operating system can be pre-loaded by HPE.

The ML30 SMB tower server is similar, but has room for up to eight small form factor or four large form factor hard drives, he said.