5 insider tips to finding the right ProLiant servers for SMBs

By Brent Kenney, HPE Product Manager for Compute Options in North America, and Allen Whipple, HPE Distributor Business Development Channel Consultant in North America

Resellers need to be prepared to help their SMB customers find the perfect server for their needs, whether they’re setting up a server room for the first time or modernizing an existing one. That means recommending the server that’s the right size and price, provides the best performance, and offers the appropriate level of scalability for the customers’ present and future needs.

We spoke with Brent Kenney, HPE Product Manager for Compute Options in North America, and Allen Whipple, HPE Distributor Business Development Channel Consultant in North America, about how reseller partners can help their SMBs customer pick the right Gen10 servers. Here are 5 of their top considerations.

1. Zero in on what drives your customers’ needs

Start by asking your customers the right questions: What does their IT look like today? What do they need to run on a server? Are they in a growth mode? What are the long-term objectives for their IT?

Within our microserver, tower, and rack families, we have a variety of platforms that support different compute needs and workloads:

  • ProLiant 10 series includes small-scale servers that are easy to buy and deploy.
  • ProLiant 100 series contains right-sized servers that are a balance of performance, efficiency, capacity, and manageability.
  • ProLiant 300s are versatile performance servers that have industry-leading design with flexible choices for multi-workload compute and storage.
  • ProLiant 500 servers, our “scale-up series,” are scalable for business-critical workloads.

If your customers don’t do a lot of data creation and don’t have extensive compute needs, a server from our tower series is probably going to be fine for them. Our ML350 is an ultra-dense workhorse optimized for multiple virtual machines. It can also convert from a tower to a rack-mounted model if the SMB later needs to expand. On the other hand, if your customer already knows they will need to scale, one of our very flexible rack-mount servers might be the best choice.

2. Talk to your customers about security

SMBs need to avoid security breaches just as much as enterprises do. In fact, because SMBs don’t have large IT teams, built-in security features are even more critical and worth an initial investment. In terms of security, HPE has set itself far beyond the competition.

All our ProLiant Gen10 tower and rack servers, as well as the MicroServer Gen10 Plus, have iLO 5 and its silicon root of trust, which is proprietary to HPE. That is an unparalleled security feature that protects against firmware attacks and identifies previously undetectable compromised firmware or malware. HPE received the Cyber Catalyst designation for its iLO 5 chip, which means customers using ProLiant Gen10 servers may qualify for better terms and conditions when buying cybersecurity insurance. So whether a customer purchases the insurance or not, that designation alone shows that HPE stands out from our competition.

And, with the addition of iLO Advanced—an affordable software license that offers further security and smart remote functionality—customers can recover their servers after a cyberattack with just a few clicks. As a reseller, there’s a lot of value in being able to tell your customer: “I’m not only selling you one of the best-selling servers in the world, but it also has an iLO 5 chip, and I’m going to get you iLO Advanced with it. That means you’ll have the most secure industry-standard server in the world.”

3. Take concerns about cost into account

Whatever your customer’s preferred price point, there is a ProLiant Gen10 server that will suit their needs today and for the future.

Our new MicroServer Gen10 Plus, at half the size of our previous MicroServer, is perfect for SMB businesses that need a compact, beginning-level server.

The next step up is our ML series of tower servers, which are great for remote or branch offices. They are super versatile and expandable—you can customize them to do what you need. There are different SSD and hard disk drive options, including server NIC cards. You can max them out with more storage. Even the ML110 is customizable, although there is a limit to how much memory and how many hard drives and solid-state drives it accepts. If your customer needs more, look at the ML350.

Beyond the tower offering, the HPE DL line gives customers a broad choice when choosing a rack-mount server. The DL360 and DL380 are the most popular, primarily due to their flexibility for customization and expansion. We also offer the 100 series of DL servers at an attractive price point for SMBs that are looking for scalability, just with a little less flexibility and slightly fewer capabilities compared to the DL300 series. And we offer the DL560 and DL580, that provide quad processor support. As you can see, the DL line of servers offers a rack-mount server to address virtually any compute need for SMBs.

4. Don’t overwhelm your customers with options

It’s easy for customers to go to, look at all the offerings, and find themselves overwhelmed. That’s why it’s important that resellers work with the HPE team at SYNNEX and know our solutions well—so you can offer your customers server solutions that exactly fit their needs while also being future-looking.

For some customers, resiliency is critical. A hospital, for example, cannot afford to go down. It needs a high-availability solution with failover options for resilience as well as expandability. For others, customization is vital. For instance, a customer running SQL Server will need some type of cache tier so there are no bottlenecks.

A majority of customers start with a tower server at the ML350 level. At the rack level, most start with either the DL360 or DL380, because you can add so many additional resources to it.

We offer Smart Buy Express SKUs on our most popular servers and options, and SYNNEX keeps those servers in stock. Smart Buy Express servers are flexible, customizable, and provide the best, competitive price without requiring negotiation. They can be a great choice because customers end up satisfied with how quickly they received a server that’s just right for them.

5. Leverage SYNNEX resources to drive value—and always look to the future

Take advantage of all the technical resources provided by SYNNEX that can help you add value and manage the customer relationship. By working closely with the team there, you’ll be better positioned to identify which servers will meet each customer’s needs.

They can also help you decide when it may be worth moving a customer to a different server family, such as HPE Synergy or HPE Apollo.

And always look to the future. If you know your customer will need faster storage down the road, adopt solid-state drive technology now. Don’t go old school and load a new server with hard disc drives when you know they’ll need faster speeds soon.

Consider persistent memory, too, which uses the memory bus for storage and is 20 times faster than solid-state drive technology. That’s an excellent feature, even in the SMB space, for when your customer needs the absolute best resources and fastest storage possible.

For more help finding the perfect HPE ProLiant Gen10 server for your customers’ workloads, try our interactive infographic. For more insider tips, see how SYNNEX and HPE drive value for partners and their customers and get expert insights on having more effective conversations with your SMB customers.

Featured Contributors

Brent Kenney

HPE Compute Options Product Manager for North America, HPE

Brent has held various positions at HPE over the last 20 years of his career, including sales, marketing, and management roles.

Allen Whipple

HPE Distributor Business Development Channel Consultant, HPE

Allen Whipple is a passionate employee of HPE who enjoys the ever-changing world of IT. During his 11-year tenure with HPE he has held the following positions: Partner Business Manager, HPE VMware Alliance Manager, HPE SMB Sales & Marketing Manager, and currently he’s the HPE Distributor Business Development Channel Consultant and server security SME. Allen enjoys enabling and working with all HPE partners and vendors.