Gateway Revives its Server Strategy

Looking to boost its server sales, Gateway Monday took the wraps off two new high-density compact servers.

The Gateway 955 1U and the Gateway 975 2U are the company’s first compact rack-mount servers to run on Intel Xeon processors. The boxes can run up to 3.06GHz with 533MHz front side bus, dual-integrated Gigabit Ethernet network ports, and 64-bit PCI-X technology. The servers also come with Ultra 320 SCSI Hot-Swap 10,000 RPM hard drives and can be clustered for high compute-intensive applications.

“As we stated last month, this launch is the first step in our plan to widen our range of products and services to better serve our business and institutional customers,” said Gateway systems and networking products group general manager Scott Weinbrandt.

Weinbrandt is somewhat Gateway’s ace in the hole as he just spent the last eight years working as a senior marketing executive with Dell Computer . And while the Poway, Calif.-based computer maker has always had a server or two in its product lineup; the company now plans to launch advertising and brand awareness campaigns that include these two servers. The units will be marketed to small and medium businesses; government; and institutional market segments.

“Ted [Waitt, Gateway’s CEO] has declared this as the key to our re-energized server portfolio to supplement our desktop and mobile products,” Weinbrandt told Customers are asking for a solution from a single vendor and we’re trying to give them a whole networking infrastructure.”

Currently, Gateway has three Xeon-driven servers, its 920 is a single processor. The 960 and 980 have dual chips. The company’s other utility server is its Pentium III-based 935.

Weinbrandt said Gateway is looking to launch its corresponding storage products sometime between July and October.

The strategy is risky given the tumultuous nature of IT spending of late and the cutthroat atmosphere between rivals Dell and Hewlett-Packard as well as the whitebox marketplace.

Gateway has tried to stay in the game both by cutting back on its workforce, closing stores and reworking its product lineups. Weinbrandt said the 955 might even make an occasional in-store appearance to let customers lay their hands on one.

“We would put this on par with Dell platforms,” Weinbrandt said. “They are actually working on a dual processor unit similar to ours.”

And starting with the new 900-series, Gateway said it is abandoning HP’s OpenView software for its own server management product, which it developed internally.

“Customers are telling us that they want one vendor and one point of accountability,” Weinbrandt said.

The Gateway 955 measures 1.75 inches with a starting price of $1,699. The company says single industry-standard 19-inch rack could contain up to 42 Gateway 955 servers. The units can be customized to support up to three hot-swap hard drives, two PCI-X expansion slots, and up to 12GB of PC2100 ECC DDR memory.

Starting at $2,199, the Gateway 975 2U server holds up to seven hot-swap hard drives, six PCI-X expansion slots, up to12GB of PC2100 ECC DDR memory, and the option for hot-swappable redundant power supplies.

Both servers come with phone or online access to Gateway’s 30 on-call MCSE, CNE and Linux certified technicians or a visit by a Unisys repairperson.