HP Fattens Smart Office Portfolio

Expanding on its Smart Office initiative to make acquiring, using and maintaining technology easier for small and medium businesses, HP today announced new products and services related to data safety and recovery, storage and financing.

“This is part of our on-going effort to deliver smart advice, smart technology and smart services that meet the needs of small-and-medium businesses,” said Lisa Wolfe, HP’s small business protection manager. “The purpose behind the Smart Office initiative is to provide small companies with products that are affordable, easy-to-use, and easy-to-manage so that they can grow their businesses.”

Product Department

According to Wolfe, the HP StorageWorks Data Protector Express is the first data backup and recovery software designed expressly for SMBs. HP says the software features a simple interface and offers a common functionality across Windows, NetWare and Linux platforms, which means you don’t need a separate software tool for each platform. The backup and recovery software supports a variety of backup media including hard disk, tape, CD and DVD. HP StorageWorks Data Protector Express sells for $799 and the price includes one year of phone support and updates.

For data-hungry small business or medium-sized companies facing rapid data growth, HP offers the StorageWorks 1510i Modular Storage Array (MSA). An external storage area network (SAN) that uses iSCSI drives, the array provides expandable storage capability for companies that quickly accumulate vast amounts of data.

Companies that use HP Proliant servers can free up storage on the server by moving the internal iSCSI hard drives from the Proliant directly into the 1510i MSA. “Moving the drives into the array reduces downtime and minimizes data loss,” said Wolfe. “Plus the server storage drives are in an environment that’s scalable, so you can add more drives as your storage needs evolve.”

The StorageWorks 1510i Modular Storage Array’s base configuration sells for $7,995.

Services Department

Developed in conjunction with Cisco, HP’s Solutions Designer Tool serves as an online resource for small business owners and helps them configure a network design based on their company’s needs. Customers answer a series of questions and the program produces a network design, including a diagram of the customized network. Through the tool, you can also contact a Cisco reseller for consultation.

The HP Reseller Tool helps you find resellers (certified by both HP and Cisco) to assist you with advice on developing or expanding your company’s network.

HP also launched SMB Smart Services, an online resource the company says is designed to help you better plan, use and protect your technology investments.

Finally, HP announced what it calls a “Payments Takes a Holiday” lease promotion, which suspends payments on hardware, software and services for the months of October, November and December 2005. “We recognize that payroll and cash flow are primary concerns for small businesses,” said Wolf. “This promotion gives SMBs more options by removing financial barriers, making it easier to invest in the IT they need.”

Lauren Simonds is the managing editor of SmallBusinessComputing.com

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