As its opening salvo, Dell has announced appliance servers for the slim-format 1U range. For the high end, it will badge the Unisys e-@ction ES7000 32-way multiprocessor server, a class sometimes referred to as Intel mainframes.
Appliance servers, which are designed to provide a single dedicated service, are attracting a lot of attention because of their low cost and space-saving format. However, the datacentre server market, based on Microsoft Windows 2000 Datacenter, has yet to develop.
Hardware vendors seem reluctant to develop their own servers, with Compaq, Hewlett-Packard and ICL also choosing to badge the Unisys ES7000 which has been through the Microsoft accreditation for Datacenter use.
With all major vendors effectively selling the same machine, the price battle will be fought on configuration and services.
Andy Butler, research group director at Gartner, predicts that sales of Windows Datacenter will be about 800 units worldwide during 2001.
He reckons the suppliers will be using the next 12 months to test the market and may be unwilling to invest research and development funds to develop their own servers for the next two or three years. The current price range for the Unisys machine is between £250,000 and £1m.
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