HP Rethinks Small-Biz Storage Strategy

Hewlett-Packard Tuesday said it has reorganized its small and midsized business team, and is looking to bring some of its best practices from Europe to help meet the needs of U.S. customers.

The company also unveiled a new version of its All-In-One small business storage array, and signed a deal to build iSCSI storage arrays based on its ProLiant servers and software from LeftHand Networks, which can be upgraded to operate on 10-Gigabit Ethernet networks.

Hewlett-Packard Tuesday appointed Urs Renggli as director of worldwide small and midsized business activities for its technology group to coordinate storage, server, software and services businesses.

Renggli, a Swiss native and 17-year HP veteran who until a couple of months headed HP's small and midsized business activities in Europe, promised to bring international best practices to solution providers in North America.

Sponsored post

Many of these practices are aimed at bringing advanced technology such as server blades and storage networking to small businesses and HP solution providers that may not have considered them before, Renggli said.

HP has gotten serious about the small and midsized business space over the past few years, Renggli said. "But HP in the last six to 12 months has realized there is no such thing as an SMB customer," he said. "There are small customers with certain requirements, and midsize customers with specific needs."

The key for many small business initiatives going forward, Renggli said, is to help smaller customers who do not have a broad understanding of blade servers and networked storage to get into the technology, and to make new solutions available to them.

HP is currently working on a number of initiative to that end, Renggli said.

The first is the ProLiant Business Advantage, aimed at educating customers about new ways to use HP's industry-standard servers.

Included is the Simple and Affordable Computing initiative, which shows customers how to deploy ProLiant servers for such purposes as print servers and file servers; the Rack Advantage initiative to help midrange customers understand their requirements and how those requirements can be helped with rack mount servers; and the Blade for Business initiative to help customers with 10 to 30 servers understand how blade servers might be an efficient alternative.

The second program is Simply StorageWorks. It includes the Simply Consolidation initiative to help channel partners that have focused on direct-attach storage better understand SAN and NAS, with training courses, solution guides, demand generation and marketing tools available to help them, Renggli said. Also included is the Simply File Services initiative aimed specifically at helping small businesses get into NAS storage, and the Simply Business Protection initiative to help them with backup strategies, both for tape and disk arrays.

HP is also teaming up with Microsoft, Oracle, Sage, SAP and Citrix to offer 75 different configuration possibilities to help solution providers bring customers products and services related to those vendors' offerings, Renggli said.

HP also reshuffled its storage team to concentrate storage resources for small and midsized customers under a single executive.

That executive, Harry Baeverstad, is now the director of HP StorageWorks SMB business, a new position within the company.

In his new role, Baeverstad is leading HP's moves around small and midsize business strategies related to storage. He had been focusing specifically on NAS products.

"My new role is to lead the charge around our SMB strategy and product roadmaps in order to accelerate market share and revenue growth," Baeverstad said.

Jerry Benisch, sales manager for Clifton Gunderson Technology Solutions, a Madison, Wisc.-based solution provider, said bringing HP's SMB storage under a single person is a smart move.

"This will give us some consistency," Benisch said. "We'll have a better understand of HP's storage if we're talking to the same person."

Part of that charge includes the introduction of a number of new storage products for small and midsize businesses.

NEXT: HP's new SMB storage offerings

HP on Tuesday unveiled a follow-up to its All-In-One device, a small business storage appliance with both NAS and iSCSI SAN capabilities priced under $5,000, which was originally released last September.

The new version, the AiO1200, offers up to 12 hard drives in a 2U rack mount enclosure for a maximum capacity of 9 Tbytes for an all-SATA solution or 3.5 Tbytes for an all-serial-attached SCSI (SAS) solution.

Customers can mix and match SATA and SAS drives in the same enclosure, with HP's All-in-One Storage Manager allowing data to be tiered between the two, Baeverstad said.

Benisch at Clifton Gunderson said he has been waiting for HP to follow up on its initial All-in-One offering, which he said was more of a niche product. "We compete in the SAN space heavily with HP's MSA on the Fibre Channel side," he said. "We might have a better play for customers who are not looking for virtualized storage with the new All-in-One."

Also on Tuesday, LeftHand Networks unveiled an agreement with HP under which its SAN/iQ software can be sold with HP's ProLiant DL320s servers as an iSCSI SAN device. It earlier offered a similar solution based on HP's ProLiant DL380.

John Fanelli, vice president of marketing for Boulder, Colo.-based LeftHand, said the ProLiant DL320s server can be configured for iSCSI SAN appliances with capacity ranging from 6 Tbytes on up. They can be upgraded for 10-Gigabit Ethernet with the addition of an optional card and a software upgrade.

"Because we use a server as an array, customers can later upgrade to 10-Gbit Ethernet," Fanelli said. "The performance sales as the capacity scales. As we add new arrays, it not only adds storage, but also two more network interface cards and two more dual-core processors."

The solution lets solution providers bring SANs to customers who in the past were not able to take advantage of the technology, Fanelli said. "And solution providers can sell up to customers who implemented expensive Fibre Channel SANs in the past but who are looking for an IP SAN solution," he said.

The new arrays are available through HP's and LeftHand's separate channel partners. List price with 6 Tbytes starts at $28,000.