HP Thinks Small With New Hardware For SMBs


The new products include storage bundles aimed at helping smaller businesses enjoy the benefits of high availability; an entry-level appliance for use in backing up the data of very small businesses that may not even have a server; low-cost managed Ethernet switches; and a business notebook PC with a seven-hour battery life.

On the storage side, HP unveiled bundles around the HP StorageWorks X3000 unified storage gateway, said Lee Johns, marketing director for unified storage at HP.

The X3000, introduced last May, is a gateway appliance that connects to other storage capacity on the back end to add iSCSI and file services capabilities to existing storage arrays.

HP now has three new channel-only bundles featuring the X3000 and its MSA line of entry-level storage arrays.

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The first is the X3410, which includes an X3000 together with an MSA SAS-connected array with a single controller for a list price of less than $10,000.

The second is the X3420, which offers high-availability to small businesses by bundling two of the gateway appliances with a dual-controller MSA array with a list price starting at about $18,000.

The third is the X3820, which is similar to the X3420 but includes Fibre Channel storage on the back end, as well as 8-Gbit Fibre Channel host-bus adapters, with a starting price of less than $30,000.

The starting prices do not include hard drives in the MSA arrays, Johns said.

HP's focus on providing bundles to help small businesses get high-availability storage is important, said Stephen Allen, president of Integrated Technology Systems, a New York-based small-business solution provider and HP partner.

High availability has become an important technology for small businesses and is often the starting point when discussing storage needs, Allen said.

"We sell high availability," he said. "We ask a customer, 'What is your tolerance for downtime?' Before they started using BlackBerrys, their tolerance was higher. Now downtime is not tolerable for even the smallest business."

While the new X3000 bundles include a single MSA array, which can still serve as a point of failure, the ability to sell two gateways and a dual controller in the MSA is a step in the right direction, Allen said.

"I like the direction HP is moving, even if it only includes one MSA box," he said. "You still need a second box for maintenance."

HP also unveiled a line of networked storage devices aimed at what Johns called "micro businesses," which are often companies with fewer than10 users that may not even be using a server.

The new X510 Data Vault from HP provides businesses that have up to 10 PC or Macintosh clients with file sharing and data protection with automatic backups, Johns said.

Pricing for the X510 ranges from $699 with 1 TB of capacity to less than $1,000 with 3 TBs of capacity. Total capacity can be expanded to up to 6 TBs using off-the-shelf hard drives from any source, Johns said.

The X510 is targeting the same customer base as the Terastation III from Buffalo Technology. Johns said the X510 with 2 TB of storage is priced about 22 percent less than a similarly configured Terastation III.

With the new X510, HP is also targeting a new segment of channel partners who focus exclusively on small businesses, including those who do a lot of business with tape drives and print consumables, Johns said. "It enables us to take a low-touch technology to a channel where StorageWorks did not have a lot of opportunities in the past," he said.

Allen said it is important for HP to be targeting micro businesses. "There's no reason for HP to give that business to Buffalo," he said.

Also new from HP is the ProCurve 1810G series of IP switches. The primary difference between the new eight-port and 24-port 1810G series and the existing 1810 switches is the addition of Web-based management. In addition, the eight-port 1810G switch has Power-over-Ethernet connectivity so it can be used in areas without a readily available power source.

HP this week also unveiled its HP ProBook 5310m notebook PC, a lightweight 3.7-pound model with a 0.9-inch width, an Intel Core 2 or Celeron processor, a 13.3-inch high-definition LED, a seven-hour battery life, and a starting price of $699.