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Toshiba enters server appliance market

The company launches a new Linux-based, special-purpose server that it hopes will attract business customers and home networking enthusiasts.

Toshiba on Monday launched a new Linux-based, special-purpose server that it hopes will attract business customers and home networking enthusiasts.

The Magnia SG10 costs $1,289 to $1,799 depending on how much hard disk capacity is included, but Toshiba hopes to make money by selling services such as online server status monitoring and data backup, said Brian Foster, Toshiba's senior product manager for servers and business development.

The SG10 has seven ports to connect PCs and another to connect to a broadband Internet connection. It can house a Web page and host e-mail, and with an upgrade can serve as the hub of 802.11b or Bluetooth wireless networks. The machine, based on a 350MHz AMD K6-2 processor with 64MB of memory, uses the Red Hat 6.1 Linux operating system, Foster said.

In addition, Toshiba plans to sign up business partners who want real estate on the systems. For example, software on the system includes a link to companies that sell office supplies.

Toshiba announced its entry into the server appliance market in November. The company hopes small-business customers will later upgrade to higher-end Toshiba systems as the companies grow, Foster said.

However, this section of the server appliance market already has several products. Sun Microsystems' Cobalt acquisition gave it the Qube product, while smaller companies such as Rebel.com and Technauts also have offerings. Meanwhile, eSoft apparently found the market not to its liking and has shifted its product line to server appliances with more specific features.

Ebiz, a company that operates LinuxMall.com, introduced its own competing product. The Terian ezNet machine also is aimed at small-business and home customers. The Terian is made by Ebiz subsidiary JBSi, which Ebiz acquired in November.

The Terian comes with software for e-mail, Web serving, data backup and protection against intruders.