HPE strengthens small business servers with ClearCenter partnership, reborn MicroServer

The exclusive deal with ClearCenter provides a Linux platform that provides server, networking and gateway functionality, and combined with the HPE ProLiant MicroServer, provides a low-cost offering for small businesses and SOHOs.

The HPE ProLiant MicroServer, back in Gen 10

LAS VEGAS – Today at their HPE Discover event, Hewlett Packard Enterprise is announcing a pair of announcements to strengthen themselves in the SMB server market, particularly at its lower end. They have announced an exclusive partnership with Linux-based open source platform provider ClearCenter, which will make their ClearOS available on HPE ProLiant servers. Today HPE is also announcing its new Gen 10 ProLiant servers, which include the ProLiant MicroServer – significant because HPE had dropped the MicroServer for the Gen 9 lineup, but brought it back this time.

“Our intent is to continue to lead in the SMB server market,” said Tim Peters, VP and GM of ProLiant Rack & Tower Servers and SMB Solutions at HPE. “To do that, it’s important to make things affordable, simple and secure. With ClearCenter, we saw an opportunity to make things more frictionless, more affordable, and simpler.”

The ClearCenter partnership agreement will provide a single platform capable of providing server, network and gateway functionality, and will be available on the new HPE ProLiant MicroServer Gen10, ML110, ML30 and DL20 servers.

“It goes beyond the server itself to provide full network integration, a really nice integrated networking, gateway and server in one unified solution, and when loaded on the MicroServer is only 9 inches by 9 inches by 10 inches,” Peters said. “It also includes an open marketplace of over 100 applications, and the apps in the ClearCenter world are point and click. It’s all easy to consume, and integrates a lot of great functionality at an incredible price.” That pricing starts at $USD 399 in the Americas.

The sweet spot for this is the true small business market.

“It’s really aimed at the under 100 seat opportunity, even the SOHO environment,” Peters indicated. “But when you scale up on another platform, like the ML30, it allows you to grow at a very low cost.”

Peters said that this is the first such partnership for ClearCenter.

“They have seven years in development, and over 400,000 instances,” he stated. “We have been monitoring their progress, as well as others trying to address the small business opportunity. Something like Red Hat is more than what this market needs. We believe the right solution for this market is a hybrid IT solution, with this kind of presence on-prem.”

ClearOS will also be available for download and installation through Intelligent Provisioning for all HPE ProLiant 10, 100 and 300 series rack and tower servers.

The second part of the announcement is that among the new Gen 10 ProLiant portfolio, refreshed with Intel’s new Kaby Lake processors, HPE has brought the SOHO-focused ProLiant MicroServer back.

“We didn’t do the ProLiant MicroServer in our Gen 9 portfolio, but this lets us come into the small business market at a very aggressive price point,” Peters said. “It is highly complementary to the ClearCenter partnership, and this symbiotic relationship shows how we are doubling down on this market. That’s why we brought the MicroServer back. The software solution and the hardware solution are a nice combination that go together well.”

In addition to the new processors, the MicroServer has AMD graphics embedded in the chip, enabling high-resolution applications like media streaming. Dual DisplayPort connectors equip two 4K-capable monitors, and there is optional GPU support on a PCIe slot, which lets users connect a total of five monitors to the MicroServer or a five screen extended display.

Both the ClearCenter OS and the Gen 10 MicroServer are clear channel products.

“We believe that with the ClearCenter OS we can sustain and grow our partnership with the channel, because it’s a differentiated solution they can’t get from others,” Peters said. “We think selling the MicroServer with the ClearOS will provide that turnkey offering that lets the partner compete effectively in this market, and will allow them to provide higher-value services to their customers on top.”