HP Grows ProLiant Server Line for SMBs

By Patricia Fusco | Posted March 08, 2004

According to IDC's quarterly server tracking report, the fourth quarter of 2003 marked three consecutive quarters of positive growth in worldwide server sales. Worldwide server unit shipments grew dramatically by 22 percent, when compared with prior year.

Hewlett-Packard intends to keep the market momentum moving forward by expanding its ProLiant server portfolio with an addition to the ML100 server series designed for small- and medium-sized businesses. HP's new ProLiant ML110 server provides SMBs with an affordable computing solution that is easy to use and easy to maintain.

The first tower server added to the new ML100 series, the HP ProLiant ML110 offers simplicity, low cost and innovative features small- and medium-size businesses need. It's designed for basic server duties, such as file sharing, firewalling, Web and e-mail messaging, and other general-purpose functions, such as handling a small shared database.

Jeff Carlat, HP product manager, said the ML110 is the first tower-type server in the company's ProLiant lineup that has been made specifically for the SMB market.

"In November when we introduced the DL140 series of small business rack servers, I said at the time that we were expanding our ProLiant portfolio to build simple and affordable computing systems for smaller businesses," Carlat said. "The ML110 is the perfect server for the SMB market, particularly small businesses that need a basic infrastructure and networking capabilities delivered by a reliable brand at an aggressive price point."

Priced for Performance
The HP ProLiant ML110 server is available today starting at an estimated list price of $499. Internal storage options range up to 320 gigabytes for ATA (define) models and 288 gigabytes for SCSI (define) models. The server is available with an Intel Celeron 2.6-gigahertz processor or a Pentium 4 processor at 2.8 GHz or 3.0 GHz with 1-megabyte cache. Microsoft Windows Small Business Server, Linux and Netware operating systems are available.

While the base model is available for less than $500, the beauty of the ML110 is that HP will ship the tower unit with the operating system pre-loaded. Having the software pre-loaded dramatically reduces the setup time required — a Windows Small Business Server could be up and running is about a half an hour. However, such options also add to the price of the unit. For example, a ProLaint ML110 with a Pentium 4 processor operating at 3.0 GHz, 512 MB of RAM, SCSI disk drive and Windows Small Business Server software preinstalled, along with a server management pack, will cost about $1,549.

The compact tower offers server functionality at desktop price, along with the reliability businesses have come to expect from HP's ProLiant servers. A faster central processing unit (define) and twice the CPU cache give SMBs better overall performance and faster response time, particularly when replacing a desktop PC that's been reconfigured to work as a server.

Carlat said HP leveraged worldwide resources to determine what its SMB customers need, then extended its ProLiant lineup to encourage small businesses to move from peer-to-peer file sharing systems to more efficient server-side computing.

"The ML110 is built with real server components, including chip sets that enable higher performance than a desktop PC," Carlat said. "We're not putting a desktop PC on its side and calling it a small business server like some hardware vendors — IBM and Dell — the ML110 is designed for 24 by 7 availability. We built it from the ground up — it's made purposefully to run as a server."

Dedicated to Serve
Carlat said retooling HP's small business server lineup is a measure of the company's dedication to serving the SMB market. As a result, the ProLiant line lives on, but it has dramatically changed in order to better meet the needs of growing businesses with little or no IT staff.

"In the past, to address the SMB market, we took an enterprise product and focused on the feature set, trying to determine why SMBs would need particular features. We came to realize that smaller businesses have unique computing requirements quite different from enterprises," Carlat explained. "As a result, we rebuilt our ProLiant portfolio. The ML110 is not a dumbed-down product — we built it from the ground up to make it right-sized for the SMB market.'

HP defines small businesses as those with fewer than 1,000 employees. While this perspective is about 500 employees beyond what the U.S. Small Business Administration (SBA) calls a small business, it allows HP to include small workgroups and remote offices of larger organizations into its overall view of SMB space. Carlat said HP's research into small business needs and redesigning its ProLiant lineup has set the hardware maker on a course for phenomenal growth.

"The server segment of our SMB sales is growing at 18 percent year-over-year. We have number one share in SMB segment with 32 percent of server units sold," Carlat said. "We've sold over $20 billion in servers to the SMB space. This is a huge, growing market."

Management Tools Milestone
With the addition of the ML110 to the ProLiant brand, HP is offering small business a server that provides a less complex subset of features, yet is manageable, serviceable and affordable. In tandem with HP's ProLaint ML100 release, the company also announced its enhanced server management tool kits attained a related milestone.

HP has enhanced the management capabilities for its servers with updates to its integrated Lights-Out (iLO) management tools available in many ProLiant servers. The optional iLO Advanced Pack now features seamless integration of the iLO remote console with Microsoft Windows Terminal Services Remote Desktop Administration. This allows for secure, high-performance remote administration access to a ProLiant server during any server state. Also, the iLO Advanced virtual media feature now supports Linux environments. This enables administrators to deploy and update server software, firmware and ROM (define) over the Internet. The same performance pack would also allow a third-party service provider to remotely manage a small business server system, without having to travel to the office.

The management tools for ProLiant servers, including Systems Insight Manager and the optional ProLiant Essentials software like the iLO Advanced pack, improve server availability and help reduce the time and resources required to administer and maintain ProLiant servers. To date, more than 500,000 ProLiant Essentials software licenses have been sold, which HP believes demonstrates the value of the technology as customers incorporate it into their adaptive management plans.

HP's ProLiant ML110 tower server brings value and processing power to the SMB market. With the addition of the ML110 to the ProLiant brand, HP is offering small business a server that provides a less complex subset of features that is manageable, serviceable and affordable.

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