Dell is hoping to woo back the increasingly lucrative small business market with five servers geared toward companies with little or no IT budget and the need to grow rapidly.
During a Sept. 27 conference call with analysts and reporters, Frank Muehleman, vice president of Dells Small Business Division, introduced the five new servers, which he says offer small business scalability, power efficiency and the ability to run multiple applications. These new servers are: The PowerEdge 1900, 860 and 840, and the SC1430 and SC440.
In creating these five servers, Muehleman said that Dell was looking to engage small business owners with hardware products that were scalable, power efficient and could be used by companies with limited IT budget and personnel.
"Small businesses are looking for local for affordable technology solutions," Muehleman said.
In recent weeks, Dell has begun to rethink its relationship to its customers, especially when it comes to its PC division.
On Sept. 13, the company announced its 2.0 initiative, which the company hopes will help improve the design of its products and allow for better customer relations.
The server announcement seems geared toward its new customer goals. In addition to the announcement, company officials talked about how it aims to listen to the needs of small businesses to develop the latest line of servers and offered a testimonial from the owner of a Los Angeles-based company that has begun using the PowerEdge 860 server.
However Dell chooses to reach small business, these companies offer a potential windfall for large hardware vendors.
Laurie McCabe, vice president for SMB solutions for AMI-Partners, a market research company in New York, said small businesses can be defined as a company with one to 100 employees.
There are about 6.2 million of these types of companies in the United States; these businesses spent about 2 billion on servers in 2005, and that number will increase to $3 billion in the next five years, McCabe said.
These small businesses are looking to grow but keep costs to a minimum, and many are turning to buying and maintaining one or two servers to help their business grow, McCabe said.
What Dell unveiled in its new server products, according to Muehleman, is what small businesses customers have asked the company to provide in the way of technology, scalability, structure and security.
All five servers feature the dual-core Intel Xeon processors. The five servers are available immediately from the Round Rock, Texas, company and are priced from $599 for the lower-end server—the SC440—to $1,399 for the high-end PowerEdge 1900.
The PowerEdge 860 is priced at $949, the 840 at $749, and the SC 1430 at $1,049.
Although Dells latest servers will include Intel chips, the company has said that it will begin offering some servers and PCs that have AMD processors.
The PowerEdge 1900 is a dual-socket system running on Intels dual-core Xeon 5100 chips, which officials say will offer up to a 211 percent increase over current systems.
The system, which Dell says is targeted at such workloads as database, messaging, file and print sharing and remote locations, also offers better throughput and secure remote management through technologies such as 16GB fully buffered DIMMs and the Dell Remote Access Controller.
The 840 series is a general-purpose tower and runs on Xeon 3000 chips, which Dell says will increase performance by 66 percent.
The server is geared toward remote offices and retail point-of-service businesses through SAS and Serial ATA hot-pluggable storage technology.
The 860 is a rack-mountable system that also features Xeon 3000 chips. The company says it can maximize data center density and performance, while reducing power consumption thanks to 146 improvement in performance per watt.
The SC1430 runs on Xeon 5100 processors and is targeted for such workloads as file and print sharing, e-mail and small Web server applications. It is a 155 percent improvement on older generation due to 8GB of fully buffered DIMMs and DDR-2 memory.
Finally, Dell is offering the SC440, which is an entry-level system with dual-core Xeon 3000 chips.
An entry-level tower, the company says the server is for businesses that want to share file and print services, e-mail or use dedicated applications.
All five servers use Microsofts Small Business Server 2003 R2, which is based on the Windows Server 2003 R2 operating-system build.
Dell is also offering a number of management solutions to help with the deployment, monitoring and support of its servers.