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HP launches small-business server

PC World
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By Ashlee Vance

(IDG) -- Hewlett-Packard launched Monday a new server for small and medium-size businesses that is designed to require a minimal amount of management.

The HP Server Tc2100 fits into the low end of the company's server line and is targeted specifically at small to medium-size businesses. Users could use the system in a variety of ways, including as an e-mail server, a print server, and a server for accounting software, said Marc Jourlait, director of HP's Netserver Business for North America.

Users can purchase the server with a 950MHz Intel Celeron processor, a 40GB IDE hard drive, and 128MB of memory for $649. Another version of the product with a Pentium III chip running at 1.13Ghz costs $999. A higher-end version with the 1.13GHz Pentium III and a 40GB SCSI hard drive starts at $1299, Jourlait said. The server has been shipping in China and Latin America, but is available worldwide this week. INFOCENTER
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The server also comes with a "one-button recovery tool" that should help make data recovery easier in the event of a hard-drive crash or other hardware problem. After a system crash, the user can push the button and the server will restore data to a tape backup unit, Jourlait said.

HP also designed the Tc2100 to make it easier for inexperienced users to open the system and work with its internal components. Unlike most PCs, the server has a latch on the side that is used to open the server's casing easily if, for example, a user needs to add a hard drive. In addition, most of the sharp edges inside the server have been covered to prevent shirt tears or other mishaps while working with the server.

Early Approval

One analyst was impressed and amused by HP's efforts to make server management easy for small-business customers.

"The challenge has been waking up the small-business customer," said Ray Boggs, an IDC analyst. "These guys have not warmed up to networks like they should, but this should help."

The shirt-tear-prevention features made Boggs chuckle, but the analyst said that is something that could appeal to inexperienced users.

Many small businesses often turn PCs into servers that handle functions such as e-mail serving. HP, however, argued that the Tc2100's backup capabilities and its management tools' ease of use should give these users a "true" server that can help keep their businesses running smoothly with little hassle.

One user was impressed with the one-button recovery feature but didn't feel it justifies paying a premium for the Tc2100 when PCs that can act as servers cost less.

"The recovery tool certainly provides a nice level of insurance," said Arturo Castellanos, a system administrator at Austin-based online travel company GeoPassage. "But we use a few PCs as servers, and the prices for those would still be lower than what HP is offering."




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