HP Offers Data Center Services to SMBs

HP is bringing some of the data center consulting services it offers enterprises to the SMB space, and is packaging the services in such a way to make them easier to get through channel partners.

Hewlett-Packard is looking to give owners of smaller data centers access to the same services available to their larger counterparts.

HP on Feb. 24 rolled out a portfolio of new services that bring the vendor's enterprise-level offerings to SMBs with data centers of less than 5,000 square feet.

The move will help these companies take advantage of such technologies as virtualization and cloud computing even though they have significantly smaller IT staffs, according to Ian Jagger, worldwide marketing manager of HP infrastructure and operations in HP's Technology Services business unit.

It also will mean that the IT staffs with SMBs will be able to spend more of their time and money on innovation and less time on managing and maintaining the data center infrastructure. Right now, HP estimates that 90 percent of IT budgets is spent on such chores, with only 10 percent available for innovation.

SMBs were harder hit by the budget cuts and resource squeezes brought on by the global recession, Jagger said in an interview, and it's going to take them longer than larger enterprises to take advantage of the recovery.

With this in mind, HP wants to not only help out with these new services, but also offer a number of options for paying for them.

"No other vendor can tell this kind of engineering services story, much less take it down [to the midmarket]," Jagger said.

HP also wants to package the services in such a way as to make it easier for the channel to resell them, he said.

The services are designed to enable the owners of these small and midsize data centers to take advantage of the benefits of virtualization and cloud computing without having to grow their IT staffs.

Included in the services are HP's Multivendor Support Services, which help businesses manage heterogeneous data center environments, and Insight Remote Support, which offers around-the-clock monitoring, diagnostics, and problem prevention and resolution. It not only works with HP servers and storage devices, but also with systems from IBM and Dell, HP ProLiants running Sun Microsystems' Solaris OS, and networking gear from Cisco Systems.

HP's Active Chat offering gives the SMBs real-time Web support on certain HP servers and storage products. The new service brings Active Chat-already offered on PCs-into the data center, and gives an alternative to phone support.

"They have limited staff and limited time," said Dionne Morgan, worldwide solutions marketing manager for HP Technology Services. "They may see this as a more efficient way to receive support."

HP also is offering training symposiums to help improve the effectiveness of data center staff, and assessment services for smaller data centers in such areas as infrastructure capabilities and energy efficiency.

HP also is streamlining the purchasing options through channel partners or from HP.