HPs tc2120 Links Low-End Server Line to ProLiant ML

HP's newest server targeted for SMBs includes performance and power enhancements and bridges the gap between HP's tc2100 offerings and its ProLiant ML300 servers.

Hewlett-Packard Co.s newest server targeted for small and midsize businesses includes performance and power enhancements and bridges the gap between the Palo Alto, Calif., companys tc2100 offerings and its ProLiant ML300 servers.

The tc2120 server comes equipped with a single Intel Corp. processor—either a 2.53GHz Pentium 4 chip or a 1.8GHz Celeron. The Pentium 4 includes 512KB of on-die cache and a 533MHz front-side bus for faster processing; the less expensive Celeron has 128KB of cache and a 400MHz front-side bus.

Like the ProLiant ML310, the tc2120 includes the ServerWorks CG SL chip set and up to five 64-bit, 33MHz PCI slots. However, the ML series includes such features as remote lights-out management and smart array controllers, which the tc2120 doesnt have.

Paul Miller, director of platforms in HPs Industry Standard Server unit, said commonality between the tc2120 and the ProLiant ML series—as well as the flexibility through such avenues as common memory and PCI expansion capabilities—are keys in easing a businesss transition to the larger servers.

HP officials said the new server, which is available now priced starting at $549, is designed for smaller businesses with tight IT budgets, small workloads such as shared Web access or limited and small databases, and a need for a platform they can build on.

"People are looking for real server technology to allow them to grow their business as much as the big companies do," Miller said. "These are typically companies with a handful of desktops and want to tie them into a network."

The server can run a variety of operating systems, including Microsoft Corp.s BackOffice Small Business Server 2000, Windows 2000 Server and the upcoming Windows Server 2003. It will also run Red Hat Inc.s Enterprise Linux AS, SuSE AGs SuSE Linux and Novell Inc.s NetWare.

Selling servers to small and midsize companies is a high-volume and low-margin business and is important to companies such as HP that already play in the consumer arena, according to Gordon Haff, an analyst with Illuminata Inc. That was even more greatly emphasized when HP bought Compaq Computer Corp. last year.

"Compaq predominantly sold through partners, and a lot of sales [to small and midsize businesses] are through partners," said Haff, in Nashua, N.H.

HP officials said the tc2120 was designed for ease of use at a good price, something Haff said small businesses are looking for.

"Whats particularly important are a lower acquisition cost and simplicity of operation," Haff said. "The assumption is that these businesses dont have a lot of skilled IT people."