Channel technologies, Business continuity, Channel partner programs, MSP, Small business

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

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

Joe Panettieri

Joe Panettieri is co-founder & editorial director of MSSP Alert and ChannelE2E, the two leading news & analysis sites for managed service providers in the cybersecurity market.