Dell unveils Pentium Pro servers

Dell Computer Corp. will unveil today a new entry-level server the first in a series of announcements designed to replace the company's entire server line with Pentium Pro-based systems before the end of the year.

Dell reports that federal sales of its current Pentium-based servers have more than doubled this year. The company's new Pentium Pro-based servers will be priced to compete against Pentium-based servers from other vendors company officials said.

"By the end of the year we will replace our entire Pentium-based line with Pentium Pro-based systems " said Terry Klein vice president of Dell's Advanced Systems Group. "Our Pentium Pro servers will be priced 30 to 50 percent lower than competitors'."

Value for the Buck

"Dell is certainly coming out offering the Pentium Pro at a very competitive level which will cause the other vendors to take a look at their pricing " said Joyce Becknell senior analyst for client/server research at the Business Research Group.

Becknell said the new servers are critical to Dell's strategy of becoming a top-tier server manufacturer along with companies such as Compaq Computer Corp. Hewlett-Packard Co. and IBM Corp.

Dell's new systems will include single- dual- and quad-processor Pentium Pro servers. They all can be configured with 180 MHz or 200 MHz Pentium Pro processors.

Available on Pacts Schedule

The new systems are expected to ship on Dell's key server contracts which include the Army's Small Multiuser Computer II contract (SMC II) held by Telos Corp. and the Social Security Administration's Intelligent Workstation/Local-Area Network program held by Unisys Corp.'s Federal Systems Division.They also will be available on Dell's General Services Administration schedule.

Dave Balleweg Telos' program manager for SMC II said he plans to add the new entry-level server to the contract this fall and is interested in the midrange and high-end models too.

"With the trend toward the Internet I see the volume of server sales increasing " Balleweg said. "More processing will be pushed out to the network and the server will be the brain of the network. I see Pentium Pro as the processor [in the server] that will be able to handle that."

Dell's entry-level PowerEdge 2100 is available immediately but probably will not appear on the GSA schedule or agency contracts before the end of the buying season. This low-end tower unit comes with up to 27G of disk storage an ultrawide SCSI controller for data access and remote network management functionality. The 2100 features three Peripheral Component Interconnect (PCI) slots three Extended Industry Standard Architecture (EISA) slots and four DIMM sockets for expandability. Klein said the 2100 is ideal for small agencies remote offices and Internet or intranet applications. Prices for the 2100 start at $3 536 on the GSA schedule. The $3 536 unit ships with a 180 MHz Pentium Pro chip 32M of RAM a 2G hard disk and 8X CD-ROM drive among other features.

"We're delivering the 2100 at what the market perceives as Pentium pricing " said Paul Foreman director of worldwide server product marketing and business development at Dell. Foreman said Dell has been able to cut its server prices in response to drops in memory and disk drive prices.

Up the Line

In November Dell will ship the mid-range PowerEdge 4100 a dual processor system that will feature a new rack-mountable chassis design. This chassis will feature redundant hot-pluggable power supplies and extra fans. It features 10 expansion bays a dual-channel SCSI-2 controller and eight slots: five PCI and three EISA. Remote network management and PCI Redundant Array of Independent Disks (RAID) are available. It can be configured with up to 24G of hard disk storage.

Designed for file and print database and some decision support applications the 4100 will compete against four-way Pentium servers Klein said. The 4100 will ship with Microsoft Corp.'s Windows NT network operating system installed but Novell Corp.'s NetWare will be available for an extra charge. Retail pricing for the 4100 will range between $8 000 and $14 000.

Before the end of the year Dell will ship the high-end PowerEdge 6100 a quad-processor system that will use the same chassis as the 4100. This unit will support up to 54G of internal disk storage and up to 2G of standard ECC memory. Like the 4100 the 6100 will offer PCI-based RAID.

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