The new solutions include the last two HPE ProLiant servers to be refreshed with Gen 10 technology, as well as software developed in collaboration with Microsoft, which includes new HPE Rapid Setup Software that HPE says will slash partner install times by up to 70 per cent.
Hewlett Packard Enterprise [HPE] has launched a new set of SMB solutions for channel partners which combine workload-tailored servers, software and deployment tools. They incorporate the newly-refreshed Gen 10 ProLiant ML30 and DL20 servers, the last two HPE servers to be refreshed with the new ProLiant Gen 10 technology. They also include networking equipment from Aruba, an HPE company, and software developed for this offering in partnership with Microsoft. The new offerings are being announced at the annual SpiceWorld conference in Austin, Texas.
“We are announcing this at SpiceWorld because this announcement is all about our focus on SMBs, and SpiceWorld is a venue which is all about the small to medium businesses,” said Robert Checketts, Senior Manager of Product Marketing for SMB at HPE.
“We have built these tailored solutions that have been configured right for the right size of business, and are providing all the collateral that goes with that, such as a solution guide to help with deployment, and simple ‘how to’ videos that will enable deployment by an entry-level technician,” said Minal Santhosh, Senior Manager of SMB Solutions at HPE. “This is for the whole SMB market, defined as 10-100 employees for small and 100-1000 for medium, but the sweet spot will be customers of 250 employees and below, who have limited IT capabilities.”
The offering is really segmented at two different groups within this space.
“The first is small office deployments, like coffee shops and dentist offices,” Santhosh said. “These new HPE ProLiant Gen10 servers and Aruba network switches and wireless access points together create an ideal small office solution. They provide the compute and networking for up to 25 employees on the ProLiant ML30 and for up to 50 employees on the ProLiant DL20. It’s a package that we can offer at a much less expensive price, both compared against our own previous offerings and our competition. We also have a more well-rounded one-stop shop solution than other vendors. Cisco has a good SMB access point solution with Meraki, but Dell does not. Dell has a good server solution for this market, but Cisco does not. The partner has to put a complete solution together. We can provide it all and save the partner time and money.”
The other use cases are slightly more complex, and can best be described as hybrid IT solutions.
“Hybrid IT has become more important in this part of the market,” Santosh said. “There has been a big change in how it handles cloud vs on-prem. Initially, there was a big rush to the cloud, but many customers who went to the cloud found the cost wasn’t what they expected, and also encountered integration issues. While some businesses like retail are still increasingly moving off-prem, others, like health care and manufacturing, aren’t. So we see our job here as to help our partners to enable hybrid IT for SMB.”
This bucket of five IT solutions was designed through best practices jointly put together with Microsoft.
“We have the same strategy around SMB needs and hybrid IT as Microsoft, and so we have put together, in conjunction with the Microsoft product management and engineering teams, solutions to address five uses cases around hybrid strategy,” Santosh indicated.
One of them is the Azure-based solution that HPE launched in August, which is now being expanded to the private cloud, as Hybrid File and Backup.
“It can be used to easily evolve an on-prem into a hybrid solution, and give a choice of the public cloud or the partner’s data centre,” Santosh said. “We have validated both these options.”
The other hybrid solutions are all entirely net-new. They are: Hybrid Web Hosting; Hybrid Virtualization, Hybrid Development and Test, and Hybrid Database.
“They all enable business outcomes and help partners create more opportunities through focuses like DevTest and Web Hosting,” Santosh noted. “The DevTest one in particular is about customization. It’s ideal for partners who are developing modern applications.”
HPE Rapid Setup Software is another net-new part of the announcement. It is a guided tool to simplify system installation, setup, and configuration, with a stepwise, easy-to-follow process cut time required to install and configure hardware and software by between 50 and 70 per cent.
“We are launching the Rapid Setup Software in collaboration with Microsoft, reflecting the fact that 90 per cent of this market runs Windows Server,” Santosh said. “We built the utility in close collaboration with Microsoft, but also includes HPE IP. It’s all about simplification by providing a guided process. When you deploy an OS with a hypervisor, it has taken about five hours. This utility cuts it to between 1 and 2 hours – which saves 50 to 70 per cent of time in the installation. For the partner, that adds margin because they typically charge a flat fee for installation. It also allows them to use a less highly skilled technician, which is another saving for them. We have had good feedback from partners testing this. Increasing margin is their baseline, and this allows that by reducing their cost and giving them a jump start in putting the solution together – it’s savings in time, savings in efforts, savings in terms of better SLAs.”
“The Rapid Setup Software is the thing we think partners will find the most exciting here,” Checketts said. “Cutting install time from 5 hours to 1 hour allows for a lot of additional income generation. It comes after we have dramatically reduced the number of SKUs. We used to have over 700 and it’s now under 80. That’s a 90 per cent reduction. We’ve also built recipes to allow partners to deploy more rapidly. All this really makes it much easier for them to build solutions customers are looking for.”