Hewlett-Packard on Wednesday introduced a variety of products for small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs), a segment that worldwide spends an estimated $234 billion per year on IT products, the company said.
The company announced the products at an event in Cupertino, California, where executives said HP had a broad portfolio across PCs, servers, networking, storage, and printing, but one that can sometimes be overwhelming to SMBs.
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Small businesses are beginning to emerge from the global economic downturn, but that recovery will not be steady, said Chad Thompson, an analyst at Access Market International Partners in New York, who spoke at HP's event.
"This is not a nice, linear curve moving out of the recession," Thompson said. Especially for SMBs, future conditions can be hard to predict, he said.
And like enterprises, small IT departments now have to do more with less, because many small companies have had to cut a single IT staffer to half-time or eliminate dedicated technology staff completely, Thompson said.
As a result, HP aims to help its SMB customers manage their infrastructure, using simpler products as well as some new help tools.
Though HP's offerings are broad, on Wednesday the company focused mostly on networking and storage, both areas where investment is expected to rise over the next few years. While SMB technology spending overall will grow at a rate of 3.6 percent per year until 2014, spending on LAN hubs and switches will grow by 29 percent per year and network-attached storage by 30 percent, AMI's Thompson said. Fibre Channel SANs (storage area networks) and server-attached storage also will grow at several times the overall pace, Thompson said.
HP updated its V family of LAN gear for SMBs by introducing the HP V1410 Switch Series, a more energy-efficient evolution of the V1400 that offers more configuration choices and use options. The V1410 is available in fixed-configuration designs with eight, 16 or 24 ports of 10/100/1000Mbps. No 16-port version was available for the V1400.
The switches now include a slot for a Kensington Computer Products lock, the inserted locks often used to secure personal computers. This feature is critical for some small businesses, where network switches may be kept on a desk in an open area, according to HP. The V1410 series is shipping now, with starting prices from $109 (eight-port) to $379 (24-port).
The company also boosted the capacity of some SMB storage platforms, including the StorageWorks X1000 Network Storage System and P2000 G3 SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) Modular Array.