Mike Tillges, president of OneSource Logistics LLC, said the key thing he is looking for in a server for his seven-employee business is reliability. His third-party logistics company, which started operations in September 2003, has been using converted PCs for its server needs, while at the same time generating 2.7GB of data on a monthly basis. "Using a PC as a server has kept me up at night," said Tillges, in Minneapolis. "Im crunching, for a small business, a lot of data, and if I lose any of it, Im dead. I cant lose that data.""When you start a business, you run mean and lean," Tillges said. "As far as an IT department, I was it. I think were going to be banging on this server, and it will be able to take it." Both announcements follow Dells rollout in February of its single-processor PowerEdge 750, a rack-optimized system, and the tower server 700. All companies have identified the SMB market as a key industry segment. During its PartnerWorld conference last week, IBM officials laid out several initiatives designed to bring SMBs into the IBM fold, including a plan designed to make it easier for software vendors and business partners to work with IBM. They also said the company has made a $500 million investment in programs for its SMB partners to help them learn about IBMs products and services and generate demand. There also are sales incentives involved. "SMB continues to be a rapidly growing segment of the industry," McRae said. That will continue as technology features continue to be driven down into products targeted for such users, he said. For its part, HP in September 2003 unveiled its SMB strategy, which included a repackaging of its products and services and a marketing program aimed at the segment. In fiscal year 2003, the company derived $21 billion in sales from the SMB space. HPs Industry Standard Servers group has a unit dedicated to the SMB space. Check out eWEEK.coms Server and Networking Center at http://servers.eweek.com for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.
OneSource has been beta testing the system, and plans on adding one as an application server and possibly more for its database needs. Reliability and ease of maintenance are key factors as the company grows, he said.