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Gateway to renew enterprise push

The PC maker is planning to sell new storage and server gear, but it must convince potential customers that it is committed to the market.

LAS VEGAS--Aiming to bolster its corporate business, Gateway on Tuesday plans to announce a new lineup of storage gear and servers running SuSE Linux.

As previously reported, Gateway plans to make Linux-based servers a standard part of its lineup rather than a custom offering. In the storage area, the company is adding two products of its own and also will begin reselling Hitachi's Thunder 9500. The Hitachi product will not carry the Gateway brand, although Gateway plans to offer service and support.

Under its own name, Gateway in December will sell a RAID (redundant array of independent disks) product using Serial ATA drives with 3 terabytes of storage for $7,199. The company will also offer a network-attached storage appliance for use in racks that has 1TB of storage for $4,799.

The products mark Gateway's return to the storage market and are part of the company's broader effort to tap corporate spending.

One of the challenges the company faces is convincing business customers it is committed to the market. Gateway became a large server seller with the purchase of Advanced Logic Research in the 1990s but had all but abandoned the market in recent years. The company had just three server products before renewing its efforts last year.

Scott Weinbrandt, a former Dell executive who heads Gateway's corporate efforts, acknowledged that he gets a lot of questions from IT managers about Gateway's commitment.

"They say, 'I spent a lot of money with you as an ALR customer. What makes me think you are not going to be in and out of this business again?' " Weinbrandt said in an interview at the Comdex trade show.

But Weinbrandt said Gateway has a strong product roadmap and feels that it can offer better technology at a cheaper price than can rivals such as Hewlett-Packard and Dell.

"It doesn't mean that it's going to make it easy for us to walk in the door and say, 'We're here to stay,'" he said. "We're going to have to prove that over time."