HP Targets Small Business Virtualization

The enterprise IT market relies heavily on virtualization for workloads of all shapes and sizes, but what about small business? How does a small business operator take advantage of the same efficiencies and cost-savings that virtualization offers larger businesses?

It’s a challenge that HP is attempting to address with a series of SMB-focused efforts including the new HP Client Virtualization SMB virtual desktop solutions.

“These are brand new solutions; we didn’t take our enterprise solutions and cut them down,” Lisa Wolfe, Worldwide Small Midmarket Business (SMB) Leader at HP, told InternetNews. “Together with our top three ISV partners — VMware, Citrix and Microsoft — we’ve designed these from the ground up.”

Wolfe noted that the solutions are designed and built on top of the new HP Gen8 DL380P server. The Gen8 Server platformwas announced earlier this year and is based on the Intel Xeon E5 processor.

The idea behind the virtual desktop delivery isn’t just for desktop users; it’s also about making it possible for mobile employees to access critical applications on the server in a secure manner. The way the system works is that once a session is complete, none of the data from the computing session remains on the mobile device.

“That’s the key thing as employees bring their own devices to work; there is a lot of company data sitting on these devices,” Wolfe said. “The devices can be lost or stolen, and there is not a lot of backing up going on.”

Going a step further, HP is rolling out a pair of new services to help the deployment of virtualization in a small business environment. One of them – the Client Virtualization Analysis service – evaluates which workloads and applications can be moved into a client virtualization environment. The other service is a mobile transformation workshop, which helps small businesses to create a mobility roadmap.

HP also advocates another new SMB-focused solution called the Unified Communications and Collaboration (UC&C) Solution with Microsoft Lync. Wolfe explained that the solution addresses secure video conferencing capabilities.

While HP targets the new collaboration and virtualization solution at SMBs, they are not all-in-one box solutions like the ones that HP offers its enterprise customers. HP has a line of what it calls the AppSystembox, which converges all the required components of an application solution, including compute and storage.

HP’s small business approach is not quite the same. Wolfe said that HP’s delivery mechanism to small business is by way of channel partners, and those partners want reference architectures.

“In client virtualization reference architectures, it’s a server and then specific configurations for the server to support a specific number of workloads with the software,” Wolfe said. “The channel partners prefer the reference architecture because they want to be able to customize [the solutions] to meet the needs of specific customers.”

Small Business Networking

The technology that ultimately delivers the application solution is the network, and it’s an area that HP is also focused on for its SMB customers.

HP is launching a small business Multi-Service Router series that’s focused on mobile connectivity. The MSR has modules that can provide 3G backup connectivity. The HP 1910 8G switch series complements the MSR with eight ports of gigabit Ethernet switching, including Power over Ethernet (PoE) capabilities. With PoE, power and data connectivity can come from the same switch port, which is useful for minimizing cable and handy for locations where power outlets are difficult to reach.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at Internetnews.com, the news service of the IT Business Edge Network, the network for technology professionals Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.

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