HP debuts upgrade to popular machine

Hewlett-Packard Co. today unveiled its NetServer LD Pro, a model that succeeds its best-selling Intel Corp.-based PC server in the federal market.

NetServer LD Pro features a 180 MHz Pentium Pro processor but is upgradable to a two-way configuration with 200 MHz Pentium Pro chips. The machine is intended for small to medium workgroups and remote sites and geared toward file and print server applications, HP said.

NetServer LD Pro replaces HP's NetServer LC as the entry-level machine in HP's NetServer L line. NetServer LC was the "single most popular unit in government accounts," said Steve Hoffman, HP product manager for NetServer LD Pro. Now, NetServer LD Pro "is filling in that entry [position]," he added.

NetServer LD Pro is available immediately. HP will market the product exclusively through resellers, which includes in the federal sector AmeriData Federal Systems, BTG Inc., Electronic Data Systems Corp., Entex Information Services, Government Technology Services Inc., Pulsar Data Systems Inc., Westwood and Zenith Data Systems.

BTG plans to offer NetServer LD Pro through its General Services Administration schedule and the National Institutes of Health's Electronic Computer Store contract, said Brad Tempchin, product sales manager for HP products at BTG. He said the product will work its way into other BTG-held contracts as well.

A spokesman for EDS said the NetServer LD Pro has been approved for inclusion on its GSA schedule.Hoffman said price and expandability were two key points for NetServer LD Pro. "It's a combination of hitting...an attractive entry price and room to grow." A base configuration has a retail price of about $3,400. And as for a growth path, NetServer LD Pro comes with 32M of RAM standard and can be upgraded to 512M of RAM. "For performance enhancement, the real sweet spot is to increase the RAM capacity," Hoffman said.

Susan Frankle, an analyst with International Data Corp., said HP has been gaining momentum with its Intel-based server products. HP, she said, ranked second in worldwide PC server unit shipments for the third calendar quarter. Compaq Computer Corp. was ranked first with a 31 percent share, followed by HP with 12.5 percent and IBM Corp. with 9.7 percent.

Frankle said the third quarter marked the first time that HP surpassed IBM in PC server shipments but added that IBM would probably still be ranked second for the year.

Other NetServer LD Pro features include a 256K cache, integrated Ultra SCSI controller and HP NetServer Navigator, and a bootable CD-ROM, which includes HP OpenView for Windows network management.

In terms of storage, NetServer LD Pro can be configured with 2.1G, 4.2G and 9.1G drives. The product has three hot-swap shelves, for maximum hot-swap capacity of 27G.

For network connectivity, the product ships with an HP 10/100TX PCI adapter. "Having a high-performance network card is important for getting the most out of the system," Hoffman said.

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