HP ramps up SMB server pitch

Hewlett-Packard Canada Co. believes small and medium businesses can reap large gains by investing more heavily in server technology and this week the company launched an educational initiative designed to show SMBs how servers can make their firms more efficient.

On the small business side, HP is targeting companies that have no server investments.

“Our estimate is that as much as 40 per cent of the small business community in Canada…does not have a server today,” says Paul Brousseau, SMB segment marketing manager for HP Canada.

Conversely, personal computer penetration in the small business community is high, Brousseau notes, which means there’s a lot of important company information stored on desktops. Putting a server into a company with several PCs could improve collaboration between workers and make it easier to secure data, since it’s easier to lock down one server than it is to secure several desktops, Brousseau explains.

For medium businesses, HP is pushing its blade server line. Blade servers are popular in large computing environments, because of their obvious space and manageability advantages, Brousseau says. Those advantages aren’t as obvious to medium businesses and HP wants to change that through an awareness campaign.

HP’s server campaign will include training and marketing tools to help channel partners better meet the needs of small businesses. For blade servers, HP is launching a new entry-level BladeSystem in a package that includes an HP BladeSystem enclosure, a 1U power supply, management software and a ProLiant server blade. HP is also introducing consulting and service packages dedicated to supporting blade servers in SMBs and launching a roadshow that will provide hands-on demonstrations.

Alan Freedman, an analyst with market research firm IDC Canada, agreed there’s untapped potential in the SMB market.

“Going forward, looking at server spending, the highest growth rate is in small business, followed by medium business, followed by large business,” he says.

However, he notes, large business still makes up almost 65 per cent of the overall server-spending pie.

In the past, many small and medium firms have shunned server technology, because they viewed it as too expensive and too complicated, Freedman says. Server prices have fallen dramatically though and server vendors are now looking to stress simplicity as a selling point.

“It’s an easier sell these days if you can wrap the hardware with software and services that will address specific business issues,” he says.

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