Gateway next week is expected to announce its first low-end storage array as part of an overall strategy to sell everything from servers to automated tape storage devices.
Gateway officials said application servers and storage devices are now their number one business priorities and they intend to sell a full line of products to round out their offerings to customers.
"We will have enterprise-class storage products by the end of the year and more price and performance-oriented products at the low end," said Scott Weinbrandt, vice president and general manager of Gateway's systems and networking group.
From 1996 to 1999, Weinbrandt headed Dell's North American sales and marketing division. Dell now resells EMC's Clariion storage array, a server that Weinbrandt said is Gateway's most direct competition.
As part of a broader product offering, Gateway also introduced two new application servers this month: the Gateway 995, which is a fully redundant server with up to four Intel Xeon processors, and the Gateway 960X, a lower-end dual processor server.
Gateway also announced that it will be using IBM's Global Services Division as its support on all back-end systems, including its new Gateway 850 SCSI JBOD storage sub-system.
The Gateway 850 server is a 2U-high storage array built on commodity, high-end SCSI drives. The array scales from 100Mbytes to 2Tbytes in capacity and has a starting price of $12,000 (£7,586). The Gateway 850 has up to 12 hot-swappable Ultra320 SCSI drives that come in 10,000rpm (36Gbytes capacity) or 15,000rpm (18Gbytes capacity). The storage server also supports Raid controllers.
The Gateway 850 fits into a direct-attached storage or network-attached storage role, but it will soon be upgradable to include iSCSI ports, which will allow servers to be backed up over IP networks at block level.
Arun Taneja, founder of research firm the Taneja Group, said Gateway is supplementing its sales in a flat PC market. He added that the company is not at a disadvantage to other PC suppliers such as Dell and Hewlett-Packard in selling low-end storage products based on commodity hardware.
"At the commodity level, there are plenty of storage products that do not require sophisticated sales teams. All you need to ask is, 'How many megabytes do you want and with what level of protection?' Once you have answered those simple questions, I can give you the right storage system," he said.
However, if Gateway were to attempt to sell more complex products, such as high-end storage sub-systems that offer mirroring, snapshots and replication features, "I would have to question it," Taneja said.
Weinbrandt said Gateway is not looking to supplement its PC sales with server or storage sales, but wants to expand its reach into its existing customer infrastructure. The company's plans include moving into the high-end storage market.
As part of that expansion, Gateway is offering the Gateway 820 LTO Autoloader, a tape library that has one drive, up to 12 cartridges and 1.6Tbytes capacity in a 2U-high box. Gateway is rebranding the product from Certance and it will sell for $5,999.
"The one thing we have going for us is we do not have a legacy in storage," Weinbrandt said. "We can deliver the latest technology at the lowest price point."
Lucas Mearian writes for Computerworld