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Dell Expands Enterprise Strategy

Microsoft has not been the only company anxious to get into the datacenter. While IBM and HP have pre-PC experience with mainframes and minicomputers, Compaq purchased DEC for its enterprise scale services and solutions. Now its Texas neighbor, Dell Computer Corp., is getting into the datacenter game.

Today Dell announced a key partnership with Unisys Corp. to resell Unisys’ ES7000 32-way Pentium server. Dell is the third of the four major PC vendors to resell the ES7000 – Compaq and HP have already begun rebranding and reselling the machine. Unisys will also aid Dell’s initiative to develop an enterprise worthy consulting organization.

“There’s been a lot of skepticism in the past few years about Dell, and Dell in the enterprise,” says Joseph Marengi, senior vice president at Dell. Dell has a variety of enterprise products like web caches, server appliances, and storage devices, but lacked machine for large databases. The addition of the ES7000 allows the company to offer a complete end-to-end Windows infrastructure.

However, the penguin lurked in the shadows of today’s announcement. Another key product launched today, the PowerApp.web 110 server appliance – a plug and play web server targeted to ISPs and ASPs – is a Linux-Apache machine.  Dell says that Linux provides the best performance and lowest cost for small server appliances.

Dell also announced what it says is the first server to use a 1GHz processor. Its 1U PowerEdge 1550 server can come with up to two 1GHz Pentium III processors, and 4GB of RAM. The company says that it is shipping the units with either Windows or Linux.

Other products announced today include the PowerApp.web 120, an appliance server running either Windows or Linux; the PowerEdge 350, a low cost 1U rackmount server; and the PowerEdge 8450, a high end database server, cramming eight processors into 7U. Aside from storage devices, Dell introduced new products into nearly every niche of its enterprise line.

Marengi hinted that the ES7000 may form the basis of Dell’s Itanium strategy, when Intel releases the chip next year. “We’re excited about moving into the 64-bit arena in the next few months,” Marengi said in regard to the Unisys machine. Unisys is already testing a version of the machine with advance samples provided by Intel. – Christopher McConnell

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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