HP is showing SMB partners some love with its latest suite of products. New backup, networking and server solutions are here with a solid price-to-feature ratio, allowing VARs to capitalize not only on deploying and reselling hardware but also services. The VAR Guy was able to chat with Duncan Campbell, VP of worldwide marketing and Converged Infrastructure, and Gerhard Abeska, solutions marketing manager with HP networking, about the news. Read on for the scoop ...

The new HP PC Backup Services (PCBS) is designed for SMBs (or even large enterprises) that need a flexible backup solution, Campbell said, noting the technology's incremental and automatic backups coupled with user-enabled recovery options are designed to make it both easy to use and secure. But its draw for the channel is that it can be sold by HP partners without having to deploy or host any hardware or services, he said.

PCBS backup lives in HP's data center, with agents installed on local machines, giving channel partners an easy way in to the backup game. "It's an HP solution that we will provide, but it's set up and sold by the channel," Campbell said. "First-level support will be through the VAR, and HP [will take care of] second- and third-level [support]."

PCBS, available today, starts at $5.95 per user per month with 2GB of backup. However, a 500-user minimum is required to sell this solution. The VAR Guy finds this an unusually high threshold -- surely HP could charge a bit more for a smaller user-load so very small companies could enjoy the same benefits? More interesting: This backup solution is not built on Axcient technology, which partnered with HP specifically to create an SMB data protection platform, but rather on Iron Mountain's Connected software.

In the server space, HP has launched a new and refreshed line of entry-level servers, aiming to meet small-scale file and application server needs with the HP ProLiant ML110 G7 and the HP ProLiant DL120 G7. The ML is designed for web messaging, printing, database and file serving, along with tiny application deployment. The DL is the bigger brother, complete with the ability to support IT infrastructure needs and more resource-intensive applications. The ML starts at $710 and the DL starts at $793.

"[These servers] are unique and helpful in that we have remote management capabilities," Campbell said, noting also that the servers include HP's iLO (integrated Lights Out), remote management tools not typically seen in a SMB lineup. "It's a differentiated offering, [and that's] very essential for SMBs now."

Abeska detailed some of the new networking products including the HP V1810-48G switch and the HP V1410 switch, built on HP's Converged Infrastructure technology. "End to end, both products apply to small and growing businesses," he said. "These new products ... are for customers who want to have networks that are easy to implement, robust and reliable. They're secure, but don't create any extra maintenance work." The price tag? A comfortable $59 for the V1410 switches, and $959 for the larger HP V1810-48G switch. The reason for the price discrepancy? The 48-port self-managed switch allows for interoperability between more networking devices, in addition to a pay-as-you-grow-per-port model, which HP says will cost less than $19 for each additional port needed.

Lastly, The VAR Guy was eager to find out about any new training or incentives wrapped around the new SMB lineup. Abeska pointed out HP's specific training for channel partners and dedicated networking training and special training for all channel partners across all HP SMB solutions. Our resident blogger sees HP's latest move as reflective of VP of Channel Strategy and SMB Meaghan Kelly's recent comments about HP's focus on finding new opportunities for SMB partners, and The VAR Guy will be on the lookout for more HP SMB moves.

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