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HP babysits small biz servers

Zeros in on Europe with 0% financing

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Babysitting Stats

Campbell says that in early tests, HP was able to fix problems 20 per cent faster for customers using the babysitting service. And it had a nearly 100 per cent first-time fix rate in problems because of the diagnostic tools HP has built and their access to machines through agents.

The service is not intended for HP's largest customers, according to Campbell. It's aimed at companies with fewer than 50 servers. "Once you get over that threshold, you really need more capability than this provides." Moreover, very large companies tend to have other system management frameworks, such as Tivoli from IBM, Unicenter from CA, and OpenView from HP that do a lot more sophisticated monitoring.

Such remote monitoring is nothing new, of course, even if it is new to ProLiant and BladeSystem shops. Back in 1988, when IBM launched its AS/400 minicomputers to SMB shops that barely knew what computers were, those machines came with a modem and a feature called Electronic Customer Support. IBM's Rochester labs, where the AS/400s were made, did proactive maintenance on the hardware in the box, and this was also the line through which remote diagnostics could be done in the even that IBM's software support people were unable to resolve an issue.

Zero percent financing in Europe now

Because there are lots of SMBs in Europe, HP will also today extend the zero per cent financing deal that launched in the United States and Canada to European countries. The European deal is slightly different, in that it is available for ProLiant and BladeSystem machines as well as StorageWorks disk arrays under a 30 month, zero per cent lease, compared to 12 or 36 month leases in the U.S. and Canada.

ProCurve switches can have 24 or 36 month leases under the European deal. These lease rates are only going to be available until April 30 in the US, Canada, and Europe, which coincides with the end of HP's second fiscal quarter. The US zero per cent financing offer spans deals from $1,500 to $150,000, while the Canadian deal spans from $5,000 to $150,000 (the former is in greenbacks, the latter in looneys). HP did not provide the financial bookends for this deal in pounds and euros as we went to press, but it probably has a shape similar to the deals in North America.

European SMB customers are also being given special bundles on ProLiant machines to help spur some check-writing. HP is offering customers a 31 per cent discount off a ProLiant DL360 G5 (1U) or DL380 G5 (2U) machine with a Xeon E5420 processor, 2 GB of main memory, a RAID controller with 256 MB of cache, and a DVD drive. Both of these machines do not have disk drives, which are not being discounted. Customers opting for blades in Europe can pick up a ProLiant BL460c G5 server using the same E5420 processors with 4 GB of memory and a RAID controller with a 128 MB cache for 32 per cent off list price.

Finally, HP will also announce that SMBs that don't want to buy ProLiant or BladeSystem servers to run various Microsoft Windows programs will be able to get hosted Windows instances, put out through value-added resellers under their brands and backed by HP iron, through a deal HP has inked with hosting company USA.NET.

Under the deal, VARs can resell Exchange 2007 and SharePoint as a service, as well as email archiving, enhanced and secure messaging, and mobile messaging. For the moment, the hosted Windows applications are only being made available to customers in the U.S. and through VARs located in the U.S. But over time, HP expects to go global with the hosted alternative, which moves IT from the capital budget to the operating budget - something many SMBs are keen to do as they conserve cash. ®

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