HP designing cheaper servers for Asia

Hewlett-Packard Co. introduced an entry-level rack server in India on Thursday, part of its strategy to design lower-cost servers specifically for Asian countries.

Asia has high growth markets like China and India, but the needs and usage models of customers there are different from those elsewhere in the world, Paul Miller, HP’s vice president of marketing for Industry Standard Servers (ISS) and BladeSystems, told reporters in Bangalore on Thursday.

A large proportion of customers in Asia, including smaller businesses, don’t need all the features included with HP servers sold in other regions, said Tony Parkinson, HP’s vice president and general manager for ISS in the Asia Pacific.

“Customers in Asia want a ‘good enough’ product which is reliable, good quality, good brand, and not very expensive”, he said.

The new server, the ProLiant DL180, is based on Dual Core and Quad-Core Xeon processors from Intel Corp. and priced from 100,000 Indian rupees, or about US$2,500.

HP said the servers will help Asian businesses to migrate from tower servers to rack servers, by offering the efficiency of a rack server and the economics of a tower server. Users in Asia often stuff tower servers into racks because of space constraints, but have not migrated to rack servers because of their higher costs, Miller said.

Some of the features and components, included as standard on similar HP rack servers, are offered as options on the DL180 to drive down costs, said Kevin Van Mondfrans, HP’s manager of product marketing for ISS. For example, while Asian customers want basic management capabilities, they don’t see a need for the more sophisticated management software typically offered on these servers, he said.

Usage models also differ in Asia, according to HP. The DL180 is likely to be used as a standalone storage server in Asia, while customers in the U.S. tend to use such systems as part of a storage area network (SAN), Parkinson said.

The products for Asia are being designed at an HP ProLiant design center in Taiwan. Asia is the only region the company is designing special products for, Miller said.

However, some of the products for Asia may be offered later in other developing markets, such as Latin America and Russia, he said. The ProLiant ML115, introduced in March as a tower server at the cost of a desktop, was designed for Asia but eventually introduced in other parts of the world.

HP will offer customers in Asia a mix of Asia-specific products and standard products, as some Asian customers, such as large enterprises, want the full-featured products, Parkinson said. He did not say how many more servers HP is designing exclusively for the region.

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