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Figuring that small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) want the best in IT advances too, HP (NYSE:HPQ) on Wednesday unleashed a barrage of products and services that use integration, low-cost, and simplicity to bring cutting edge enterprise IT capabilities to the global mid-market.

The new products and services -- ranging from the $329 HP ProLiant MicroServer to $424 minitower PCs to simplified virtualization, networking and storage bundles -- come from multiple organizations across HP, but with a singular Goldilocks target of “Just Right IT” for SMBs.

The slew of value-oriented offerings is also designed to give HPs various global channel partners a new horse to ride into town on as the SMBs look beyond recession-reckoning for how to grow their operations while becoming more productive. The products and services are also available from HP directly.

HP is also putting financial muscle behind the channel partners and users by providing aggressive financing options leasing, life cycle asset management and upgrade services. HP Financial Services is the second-largest captive IT leasing company in the world, said HP. Leasing provides SMBs with flexibility (with no or low upfront payments) and a path to migrate to newer technology.

While the value and utilization benefits of virtualization have been quickly adopted by larger companies and IT departments, the use of hypervisors has been slower in SMBs. To help solve that, HP has developed more complete virtualization environments using Virtualization Smart Bundles with Microsoft Hyper-V Server 2008 R2. The bundles target storage, servers and networking virtualization technology uses.

The SMB-targeted worker productivity releases include:

  • HP ProLiant MicroServer, an energy-efficient file server designed for businesses with up to 10 employees to centralize information and securely access files faster (at about half the size and 50 percent quieter than most entry-level servers)

The SMB-targeted storage management releases include:

The SMB-targeted networking and communications releases include:

  • HP VCX 9.5 IP Telephony system and 350x IP Phones (starting at $119), which enable the convergence of voice and data onto a single network infrastructure.

SMBs are where economists look for growth to emerge from recessions, and in developing countries. For years, though, large IT vendors have focused on the top ends of the IT market. It makes a lot of sense for HP to scale the technology and offerings down to the SMBs -- which is a huge total market, poised for unprecedented growth in the world's most populous regions.

Fact is, too, that due to proliferating mobile devices and wireless networks, nearly all companies of any size need to deeply embrace technology and networking to remain competitive. Data explosion also makes it unavoidable to bring in managed storage and backup, not to mention the burgeoning requirements of security and managed access.

While many of us analysts harp on about the virtues and inevitability of cloud computing, for many small companies and in many regions, the promise of cloud cannot be considered until the basics of IT are modernized and managed.

Mobile devices alone can not take the place of a LAN and managed storage. In many ways, these new HP products and bundles -- with their pricing and simplicity -- can be seen as stepping stones for SMBs to soon be able to exploit the value and potential of cloud-based services, too.

And then we actually might see these SMBs leap-frog their larger corporate brethren, rather than be seen as a lagging market category, in regards to IT productivity and enablement. And wouldn't that be exciting?

Disclosure: HP is a sponsor of BriefingsDirect podcasts.

Source: HP Product Barrage Brings Latest IT Advances to Price-Sensitive SMBs