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HP Forecasts Increased SMB Spending, Rolls Out New Products

HP has launched a number of initiatives to win sales in the small-to-medium-sized business (SMB) IT market. The company is offering new storage and networking hardware and financing deals amid evidence of increased IT spending by customers. HP introduced three new data storage products, revamped its network switch lineup to include products from its acquisition of 3Com and is configuring HP hardware to work in Microsoft's Unified Communications environment. In addition, HP's Financial Services division is offering zero percent financing on lease terms of 12 and 36 months on laptop and desktop computers, printers, scanners, and certain blade and rack-mounted servers.

Industry research from AMI-Partners presented by HP at a press event showed that while the compound annual growth rate (CAGR) from 2009 to 2014 for SMB IT spending in the U.S. was projected at only 3.6 percent, projected spending on specific types of IT was through the roof. AMI-Partners predicts CAGR for wireless LAN spending at 23 percent; for hubs and LAN switches, 29 percent; network-attached storage, 30 percent; Fiber-Channel storage area networks, 25 percent; and server-attached storage, 16 percent.

Those figures represent pent-up demand for major infrastructure spending that was put off during the recession, says Chad Thompson, vice president of the market strategy group at AMI. During the downturn, IT spending was limited to "break-fix" maintenance of IT. "Some of those other areas like networking, it was kind of a nice to have but just not there. That's where you are starting to see the pent-up demand," Thompson says. AMI defines small businesses as those with up to 100 employees and medium-sized businesses as those with between 100 and 1,000 employees. SMBs constitute a $234 billion IT market opportunity globally, $57 billion of it in the U.S.

New storage offerings for the SMB market include the HP StorageWorks X310 Data Vault (starting price, $549) that can provide daily automated backup for up to 10 PCs and with storage capacity of up to 15 TBytes with additional disk drives attached. The StorageWorks X1000 Network Storage System ($3,512) can combine groups of direct-attached storage into one shared network storage platform. The P2000 G3 Modular Smart Array system ($8,970) features 6-gigabit serial attached SCSI technology with double the storage capacity and data throughput of previous models.

HP reconfigured its network switch portfolio to combine the ProCurve line from HP with the 3Com Baseline Plus series. HP closed its 3Com acquisition in April. HP's SMB switch lineup includes the new V-Series, including the V1410, V1910, V1905 and V1405 switches. The V1410 line offers 8- 16- and 24-port configurations. The V1910 and V1905 switches have Power over Ethernet options. HP also announced the V110 Wireless N Router series, which has a built-in firewall. HP is also promoting "collaboration and consolidation" solutions for SMBs by configuring hardware to work with Microsoft's Unified Communications systems, which link e-mail, VoIP, video, presence and other messaging platforms. The hardware is built around Microsoft's Exchange, SharePoint and Communications servers.