Gateway Targets the Enterprise

PC maker bids to differentiate systems through innovation.

Gateway Inc. is kicking off a push to win over enterprise customers with the introduction of two new high-density servers this week.

The rack-mount servers, the 1U (1.75-inch)-high Gateway 955 and the 2U (3.5-inch)-high Gateway 975, are targeted for server consolidation projects. A standard rack can accommodate 42 955 servers, according to officials at the Poway, Calif., company.

The 955 and 975 servers can be equipped with up to two Intel Corp. Xeon processors that operate at up to 3.06GHz and sport a 533MHz front-side bus for reduced latency. The chips also have dual, integrated Gigabit Ethernet ports and a 64-bit PCI-X interconnect technology.

The 955 is priced starting at $1,699. The 975, which offers redundancy and expandability features, is priced starting at $2,199.

The servers are loaded with the new Gateway Server Manager application, which enables an IT administrator to snap them into a heterogeneous server environment and manage the entire data center, said Scott Weinbrandt, general manager of Gateways Systems & Networking Products Group. Gateway Server Manager is compliant with the Intelligent Platform Management Interface standard and works with other systems management tools, such as Hewlett-Packard Co.s OpenView.

Features such as the server management application are examples of the way Gateway intends to be first to market with technology that dif- ferentiates its servers.

The effort to extend Gateway, which is known for selling computers direct to consumers, into a systems provider for the enterprise sounds not too different from Dell Computer Corp.s successful transition.

However, Gateway will differentiate itself from vendors such as Dell, of Round Rock, Texas, in several ways, Weinbrandt said.

"Well definitely be aggressive on price," Weinbrandt said, "but our goal is to add innovation in the box."

John Burns, CEO of hosting company LLC, said the new servers look to be a great value. He has standardized his company on a single platform, which reduces costs.

Burns had not thought of Gateway as a server maker until he bought his first ones a year ago. Despite his satisfaction with the companys products, Gateway will face a challenge getting other customers to think of it as an enterprise vendor, he said.

"Weinbrandt will have not only the challenge of developing an underdeveloped—and perhaps overlooked—product line but also over- coming a market perception that Gateway is not a server box builder," said Burns, in Greenwood Village, Colo. "Do I think they will be successful? Yes, to a degree. I do not believe they will get the large enterprise customers, but they will be successful with smaller customers like VenturesOnline."