HP Goes Low With ProLiant Server

There’s a saying about tools that goes something like this: “When all you own is a hammer, everything looks like a nail.”

The computer-world equivalent might be, “When all you own is a desktop PC, everything looks like a server.”

According to Krista Satterthwaite, group manager of Industry Standard Server Marketing at HP, many small businesses either have no server or use a desktop PC as a server. In fact, Satterthwaite said, in a survey of “very small businesses” (which she described as those with 20 or fewer employees), 62 percent indicated they had considered using a desktop PC as a server.

While a tower PC and a tower server may look alike, they are quite different, Satterthwaite said. “Servers are tested to ensure they’re reliable 24 hours a day, PCs are designed to work 9-5.”

If price has been preventing you from moving to a “true” server, HP has a what it thinks is the answer in the HP ProLiant ML115 Server. The ProLiant ML115 represents “the beginning of the line” in terms HP’s server product offerings, Satterthwaite said. It represents two firsts for HP. It’s the first time the company has hit the sub-$500 price point for a server, and it’s the first AMD-based tower server the company has offered.

Small business customers have told HP they want the option of choosing AMD- or Intel-based tower servers, although Satterthwaite said she wasn’t sure what benefits customers saw when picking one over the other. “Maybe it’s a carryover from their consumer preferences.”

HP ProLiant ML115
HP hopes the ProLiant ML115, which starts at $499, will entice small businesses to move to server-based computing

For $499, you get a single-core Athlon 64 3500+ processor running at 2.2 GHz, one 80GB SATA drive, 512 MB of RAM, Satterthwaite said.

A $729 base price buys you a dual-core Opteron processor with a 160GB SATA hard drive and 512 MB of RAM. The Opteron-based servers run at speeds of 1.8 GHz, 2.2 GHz, 2.4 GHz or 2.8 GHz.

The ProLiant ML115 is designed to improve networking, file- and print-sharing, shared Internet access and e-mail. It also comes with four hard disk drive bays that can house either SATA or SAS drives (SATA drives offer higher capacity and lower cost, while SAS features faster performance) and integrated RAID 0, 1 and 5. It also has eight USB ports (two front, four rear and two internal).

For small businesses that choose to have their reseller handle server management, the HP ProLiant ML115 Server is available with an optional HP Lights-Out 100c Remote Management Card, which costs $219. With the card installed in your server, your service provider (or you if you’re so inclined) can remotely manage the server over a LAN or the Internet by typing an IP address into a browser-based management console.

The HP ProLiant ML115 Server will ship with your choice of Linux or Windows operating systems. For Linux-based based servers, add $179. The Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2003 R2 Standard Edition with five Client Access Licenses pre-installed costs an additional $499.

Dan Muse is executive editor of internet.com’s Small Business Channel, EarthWeb’s Networking Channel and ServerWatch.

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