Gateway Inc. and Sun Microsystems Inc. on Monday are making pushes into the increasingly competitive four-way server space.
Gateway is launching its four-processor Gateway 995 server, which the Poway, Calif., company first spoke about at the CeBIT America show in June. The rollout of the 4U (seven-inch) system, which includes up to four Intel Corp. 2.8GHz Xeon MP chips armed with the chip makers Hyper-Threading Technology, is being coupled with an agreement Gateway has made with IBM Global Services. IBMs services unit will provide support on Gateways growing roster of servers, which are a key part of the companys transformation from simply a computer maker to more of an enterprise player.
The deal with IBM Global Services "gives our nice product portfolio credibility from a services standpoint," said Tim Diefenthaler, director of servers and storage product marketing for Gateways Systems and Networking Products unit.
Having the ability to offer a high level of service is becoming increasingly important to vendors as the hardware itself becomes more commoditized. And for Gateway, partnering with IBMs services division could offer much-needed entrée into enterprises. Under the agreement, IBM Global Services will offer Gateway server users field-based support, next-business-day and four-hour response time, and on-site repairs.
Gateways new rack-mounted server also includes support for a 400MHz front-side bus, up to 24GB of memory and PCI Hot Plug, which enables users to remove or install PCI cards without having to bring the server down. It also offers support for Microsoft Corp.s Windows 2000 and 2003 Standard and Linux operating systems, and 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, 512MB of memory and a single 36GB SCSI hard disk drive, is priced at $5,999.
While Gateway will not bump up its servers beyond four processors, Diefenthaler said the company is exploring other form factors—including blades—and other architectures—including Intels 64-bit Itanium chip. However, he said no decisions have been made.
Sun is bulking 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. Warren Mootrey, director of product marketing for Suns Volume Systems Products group, said that while the company is boosting the servers power, it is keeping the price the same.
"We have now brought the entire product line up to at least a gigahertz," Mootrey said.
The year-old V480 has grown into the second-best selling four-way on the market, he said, adding that Suns market share in that space grew from 18.4 percent to 21.4 percent in the last quarter.
The V480 comes in three configurations, including a two-processor system with 4GB of memory starting at $19,995. There also are two four-way configurations, one with 8GB of memory for $34,995 and another with 16GB of memory for $42,995. All systems come with Suns Solaris 9 operating system, Mootrey said.