HP Unfurls Automated IT Management Service

Michael Vizard

As part of an effort to woo small to medium-sized businesses that are short-handed when it comes to IT staff, HP today rolled out a new cloud computing service that automates many IT tasks.

In addition, HP detailed its networking product line for the SMB sector in the wake of its recent acquisition of 3Com and announced tighter integration between its products and unified communications software from Microsoft.

According to Lisa Wolfe, worldwide small and midsize business leader for HP, the HP 48Upper cloud computing service is a manifestation of HP's commitment to lower the cost of enterprise computing for mid-market customers. While some organizations may choose to rely on these types of services to reduce their IT headcount, Wolfe said it is much more likely that customers will rely on these services to free up their existing IT staff in a way that allows them to make higher-value contributions to the business.

HP also unveiled Virtual Rooms, which is a collaboration environment it is making available to customers for a monthly fee, and Small Biz Nation, a community site specifically designed to meet the needs of SMB customers.

The new cloud computing service coincides with the announcement from HP that it plans to cut 9,000 internal IT jobs over the next several years thanks to increased use of IT automation and cloud computing to deliver IT services.

While it's true that IT automation may lead to IT job cuts in large enterprises, Wolfe said most SMB customers simply want to leverage IT automation in a way that eliminates mundane tasks for the limited number of IT people they have on staff.

HP also unveiled today a new V1410 switch that comes in 8-, 16- and 24-port models and a series of new additions to its storage lineup for SMB customers. According to Mark Hilton, director of HP LAN Edge Solutions, the 3Com networking switch lineup was mostly focused on higher-end enterprise customers, while the company's mid-market offerings are mostly being carried forward as HP products that complement the existing ProCurve line of networking products.

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