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Seeking to make it much simpler for channel partners to generate streams of recurring revenue from managed services, Hewlett Packard Enterprise unveiled a converged appliance that can be remotely managed via the cloud.

Priced starting under $300, the HPE Proliant Easy Connect Managed Hybrid appliance is based on the HP Gen9 server platform running the latest Intel Xeon E3-1200 v5 processors. The management software that HPE is making available to partners in the cloud comes from Zynstra.

The goal is to make it easier for HP partners to become managed service providers, said McLeod Glass, vice president and general manager for SMB (small and midsize business) solutions and tower servers at HPE. The appliance—which is designed specifically for SMBs and combines compute and storage —creates a platform that an MSP can more easily consistently manage across a broad range of installations, he said.

“We’re trying to enable our partners to become more efficient,” said Glass. “With an appliance managed via the cloud, there is no need to roll trucks to update systems.”

One of the first MSPs to employ these systems is TCT Computer Solutions, which is already using Zynstra to manage systems, said George Hefter, president of TCT Computer Solutions. The alliance with HPE now makes it easier to entice customers to upgrade to a modern IT environment that will be more cost-effective for TCT Computer Solutions to manage. In addition, because those HPE systems are now part of a service, it’s also easier for SMBs to fund their acquisition at a time when most are cautious about making capital investments.

“The systems become an operating expense,” Hefter said. “That means the customer can write off the entire cost.”

When configured with virtual machine software, the HPE Proliant Easy Connect Managed Hybrid appliance creates an alternative to the now-defunct Microsoft Small Business Server bundle on which many SMBs previously relied, Hefter said. For TCT Computer Solutions, that’s critical because many of the servers currently deployed in SMB organizations are legacy systems prone to failure. Upgrading those systems to the HPE Proliant Easy Connect Managed Hybrid appliance would reduce that risk while lowering the costs of the MSP that needs to service them, said Hefter.

Although one appliance won’t fit every application workload requirement, in SMB organizations that tend to have well-defined application workloads that they continue to prefer to run on premise, a converged appliance platform will more than suit their IT requirements.

Michael Vizard has been covering IT issues in the enterprise for more than 25 years as an editor and columnist for publications such as InfoWorld, eWEEK, Baseline, CRN, ComputerWorld and Digital Review.