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HPE Pitches SMB Hybrid Servers, Backup, Azure to MSPs

Blaine Raddon

Blaine Raddon

Hewlett Packard Enterprise is rallying VARs and managed service providers (MSPs) around a portfolio of SMB solutions that boost monthly recurring revenues. The channel-centric offerings include server appliances, management software, Microsoft Azure discounts, and backup options that counter Acronis and Veeam. The channel partner sales pitch surfaced a few minutes ago at the HP Enterprise Discover 2016 conference in Las Vegas.

The lineup includes…

1. MSP-Centric Servers: Keep an eye on the ProLiant EC200a Managed Hybrid Server, an appliance that marries hardware with a range of software solutions. The server has a three-year payment model, but don’t think of it as a traditional lease approach. The reason? Hardware is only one piece of the solution. HPE and MSPs together wrap a range of software and subscription services around the platform. “The appliance isn’t complete without the MSP’s services,” said Blaine Raddon, director of worldwide channels, Enterprise Group – Servers, at HPE.

2. Management Service: An HPE relationship with Zynstra ensures MSP customers have subscription-based maintenance in place. Side note: I’m not sure if or how Zynstra potentially competes against RMM (remote monitoring and management) software that many MSPs leverage.

3. Microsoft Azure Discounts: HPE and Microsoft have just launched an Azure partner opportunity that offers discounts to partners. Channel partners should ask  their distributors about the Azure Attach program. For every ProLiant server a partner sells, the partner receives cloud discounts to help move customer workloads into Azure. Partners can pocket the discount or pass it on to customers.

4. Backup Solutions: HPE just launched a VM Explorer to compete against AcronisVeeam and other key players in the backup market. VM Explorer is based on Trilead, a Switzerland-based software firm that HPE acquired earlier this year.

At first glance, HPE’s strategy sounds similar to earlier efforts at Lenovo and Intel.

Lenovo designed a purpose-built server for MSPs way back in 2010 but it never quite took off. Around the same time, an Intel Hybrid Cloud server surfaced along with a related AppUp Small Business Service. But the systems didn’t take off, and Intel killed the Hybrid Cloud server in 2013, shifting focus instead to vPro Technology as a way for MSPs to more effectively manage systems.

MSP-Centric Servers: What’s Different This Time?

So what’s different about HPE’s efforts? For starters, the ProLiant EC200a Managed Hybrid Server has built-in networking. In theory, that means remote management will be greatly simplified. The server’s financing model could also be attractive to MSPs and their SMB customers. The HPE-Zynstra relationship also is purpose-built for MSPs. And HPE’s control of backup software (VM Explorer) could give the company a leg up against multi-vendor offerings.

MSPs and VARs that attended the session were very responsive to Raddon’s key points. Quite a few attendees asked specifically about each of the components (server, backup, management software) while others pursued more information about the Azure Attach program.

Michael Proper

Michael Proper

ChannelE2E Tipster: Special thanks to ClearCenter CEO Michael Proper for telling ChannelE2E about this SMB channel partner session at HP Enterprise Discover.

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