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Dell's server business booms

Dell Computer reels in several large orders for its high-end servers and gains ground in the crucial server market.

Dell Computer(DELL), riding high after posting strong financial numbers, will announce that it has received large orders for its high-end server computers, indicating yet again that it is gaining ground in this critical market.

Dell said that it has received a large order from Dayton Hudson's Target discount store chain with over 673 locations across the United States.

The company will supply 850 of its newest high-end PowerEdge 6100 servers to Target. Eventually, Target will put a Dell 6100 PowerEdge server in every store in the United States, according to a Dell spokesperson.

The PowerEdge 6100 is Dell's newest Pentium Pro-based multiprocessor server, using as many as four of Intel's most powerful processors in one system. The 6100 also boasts hard disk drive capacity up to a massive 342GB.

This good news for Dell supports a 1996 International Data Corporation (IDC) report that showed Dell had become the fourth largest server vendor in the U.S. behind Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, and IBM.

Dell said its server business grew more than 300 percent over the same period last year.

A large order has also been received from AT&T Wireless Services for the 4100 series of PowerEdge Pentium Pro servers, Dell said. AT&T Wireless may also purchase 6100 servers, according to Dell.

Dell is also planning to enter into the server clustering market later this year. Clustering has historically been the exclusive realm of server heavyweights such as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, and Compaq.

Clustering of Intel processor-based servers is becoming an extremely important technology for these vendors since it gives them the opportunity to make inroads into a lucrative market traditionally dominated by RISC processor-based Unix server vendors.

In clustering, a group of servers are strung together and talk to each other constantly, so if one of them goes down, one or more of the other servers kicks in. This allows a company's servers to continue to operate even in the event of a server crash, which can potentially paralyze a business.