Microbits expands its SMB white box niches

Adelaide-based assembler Microbits sees low-cost, white box appliance servers as its best route to expanding its growth into new markets outside its South Australian stronghold.

The move by Microbits follows significant success in selling an Internet caching device in New Zealand, Asian and Australian east coast markets. This has now been followed by the launch of a new network appliance - the ABM Server - which is aimed squarely at solving small and medium businesses' network issues.

According to Max Mentiplay, managing director of Microbits, SMB end users are desperate for some affordable solutions to their IT management and maintenance headaches. He said the tier-one brands tend to be just out of reach of most SMB customers who struggle to run multiple and increasingly mission-critical functions from the one server to save costs.

"What these affordable devices will do is sit in a corner and work without interruption, performing a specific task," Mentiplay said. "It is the only way for a small business to go if they want to ensure that management and maintenance costs don't blow out."

Mentiplay said resellers would earn "double digit" margins on the servers while also having the opportunity to introduce a much better solution for their customers to what is a "network nightmare".

"There is huge demand for this from SMBs as they cannot afford network management", Mentiplay added. "If they can simplify the process of network management then they can also sell them the rest of the solution."

Based on Intel architecture, end user prices for the servers start at $1650, including GST, and Microbits claims they will "deliver integrated Web, e-mail, file and print server functions with one switch simplicity".

They come with a three-year back to base warranty and run on a "toughened", hybrid Red Hat/Immunix Linux kernel that is disguised for ease of use. Next off the drawing board for Microbits growing appliance server range is an Internet caching device.

"We are expanding the business but doing this via niche products and not by just building more PCs," Mentiplay said.

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