Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has launched a new line of converged, preconfigured servers. The ProLiant Easy Connect servers let small businesses—and branch offices within larger organizations—tap the power of the cloud whenever circumstances dictate or growth opportunities present themselves.
The first member the new family of managed hybrid servers is the compact HPE ProLiant EC200a. Powered by an Intel Xeon D-1518 server processor, the EC200a features tightly integrated server computing, storage, and networking, along with cloud management and virtualization software from Zynstra, a U.K.-based hybrid cloud IT services provider that specializes in serving small businesses.
Don't let the "E" in HPE and talk of "converged infrastructure" alarm you, said David Sung, director of worldwide small business server marketing for HPE. ProLiant Easy Connect systems are purpose-built for small business IT needs.
The HPE ProLiant Easy Connect EC200a server.
Streamlining Small Business IT
"We know that a lot of small businesses aspire to do more," Sung told Small Business Computing. Whether to grow sales or to provide more responsive customer service, SMBs are on the lookout for technology solutions that help them better accomplish their goals.
What's holding them back? Existing investments in on-premises systems that require ongoing maintenance, management and patching, argued Sung. A wholesale move to the cloud is impractical for a variety of reasons, from data privacy, security and control concerns to the potentially disruptive effects to day to day operations.
Working with its channel partners, HPE aims to streamline IT buying, deployment, and management processes for small businesses that are caught between their aging, on-premises setups and the cloud.
First, HPE removed upfront costs from the equation. As you would with most cloud computing services, you pay for ProLiant Easy Connect systems on a subscription basis. This eliminates budget strains or the need borrow money for a big hardware and software bill.
Next, the company tackled another small business technology challenge: IT management.
Small Business IT Without the Worry
Between driving revenues and keeping customers happy, staying up-to-date on software updates and operating system patches often takes a backseat for many small business owners, said Minal Santhosh, HPE's senior manager of small business solutions.
When Santhosh meets with small business owners, a common theme pops up; "They don't have the IT personnel" to adequately manage and secure their systems, let alone embark on ambitious cloud migration projects. "They want worry-free IT so they can focus on their business."
The Proliant EC200a, along with future ProLiant Easy Connect offerings, is designed not only to help HPE's resellers and managed service providers (MSPs) bring the benefits of the cloud to small business, but also to alleviate the management, security, and data-control concerns that keep small business owners from adopting more modern, collaborative, and intelligent applications and IT services.
ProLiant Easy Connect systems let organizations select which workloads they want to keep local and which ones they want to move to the cloud. They also feature centralized management from the cloud. This includes automated upgrades, patching, and system maintenance, which improves security and ensures that both the system and its software always run in peak condition.
Hybrid IT Management Made Easy
Zynstra's virtualization and cloud-management platform plays a vital role in HPE's vision. In a blog post, Nick East, CEO of Zynstra, talked about the collaboration efforts between his company and HPE.
Our "engineering teams have worked closely together to deliver a solution with new levels of capability, cost efficiency and simplicity of use. Together, we are helping SMBs transform to a hybrid infrastructure by taking advantage of on-premises and cloud IT to fuel innovation and drive business flexibility, delivering a solution with new levels of capability, cost efficiency and simplicity of use."
Another important factor is HPE's partner and MSP community. Pre-integrated options include Microsoft Azure and Office 365, but the platform is infinitely adaptable, said Sung. ProLiant Easy Connect lets HPE and its resellers offer purpose-built bundles, dubbed HPE Flex Solutions, "for a specific workload or a specific business outcome," he said.
HPE ProLiant Easy Connect Managed Hybrid systems will be available on April 28 in the U.S. and U.K. via the company's channel partners.
Pedro Hernandez is a contributing editor at Small Business Computing. Follow him on Twitter @ecoINSITE.
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