Sun, Gateway Boost 4-Ways

Gateway 995 to be supported by IGs.

As Sun Microsystems Inc. upgrades its four-processor server, Gateway Inc. looks to provide enterprises with an alternative four-way system backed up with services from IBM.

Sun last week bulked up its four-way Sun Fire V480 server by upgrading its processor to the 1.05GHz UltraSPARC III chip.

Officials with the Santa Clara, Calif., company said the new chip will give the rack-mounted server a 22 percent performance boost over the current 900MHz chip. While the company is increasing the servers power, it is keeping the price the same, they said.

A two-processor system with 4GB of memory starts at $19,995. Sun also sells two four-way configurations, one with 8GB of memory for $34,995 and another with 16GB of memory for $42,995.

Separately, Gateway last week launched its Gateway 995 server—a 4U- (7-inch) high system that includes up to four Intel Corp. 2.8GHz Xeon MP chips armed with the chip makers Hyper-Threading Technology. The rack-mounted Gateway 995 server includes a 400MHz front-side bus, up to 24GB of memory and PCI Hot Plug support, which enables users to remove or install PCI cards without having to bring the server down. It also comes with the companys management suite, Gateway Server Manager. The software enables users to manage the servers within a heterogeneous environment.

A base configuration, which includes a single 2GHz Xeon MP chip and 512MB of memory, is priced at $5,999.

The Poway, Calif., company also said that IBM Global Services will provide support for Gateways growing roster of servers, which are a key part of its transformation from simply a PC maker to more of an enterprise player. The deal with IBM Global Services bolsters Gateways product portfolio credibility from a services standpoint, company officials said.

Having the ability to offer a high level of service is becoming increasingly important as the hardware itself becomes more commoditized. For Gateway, partnering with IBMs services division could offer much-needed entree into enterprises, officials said. Under the agreement, IBM Global Services will offer Gateway server users field-based support, next-business-day and 4-hour response time, and on-site repairs.

However, Gateway wasnt able to get much traction selling servers in its first attempt a few years ago, and, given the more competitive landscape, the deal with IBM Global Services will do little to change that this time, said Gordon Haff, an analyst with Illuminata Inc.

"Gateway has ... in an inconsistent way over the last few years been trying to expand beyond their consumer PC market," said Haff, in Nashua, N.H. "At this point, I dont see—taken by itself—[the partnership] making much of a difference for Gateway."