Advanced Logic Research (AALR)
introduced a server that will ease the transition to new processor
technologies by providing for easier upgrades from 200-MHz Pentium Pros to Pentium II chips running at up to 300 MHz.
Advanced Logic (ALR) says that it has designed the 2XL server to be
upgradable from a Pentium Pro processor to newer Pentium II processors. The
Pentium Pro and Pentium II processors normally aren't interchangeable
because of different socket designs used by Intel. ALR solved this problem by putting
the Pentium Pro on a special card which fits into a slot designed for the
Pentium II, so customers can swap out the old processor and plug in the
"They are targeting this toward people who are familiar with the Pentium
Pro and have systems set up, and support set up [that] may want to stay
with that, but have plans to upgrade. This is just kind of investment
protection for those who want to stay with Pentium Pro for a short period
of time," said Jerry Sheridan, an analyst with market research firm Dataquest.
To date, most servers sold have used the Pentium Pro processor instead of
the newer Pentium II. This is because the Pentium II lacked some of the
features that the Pentium Pro had. For instance, until recently, the
Pentium II did not offer support for high-quality Error Checking and
Correcting (ECC) memory, an important check-off item for servers.
As Intel improves the Pentium II by adding more features and increasing the clock speed, and as it begins to phase out the Pentium Pro next
year, many corporations will choose servers with the new processor.
"With the Pentium II, there are some advantages, like faster clock
speeds...Having a growth path all the way up to 300 MHz gives a lot of
flexibility to our customers," said Kevin Roberts, a product manager for
Roberts notes that the 2XL also has many features found on the company's
more expensive products, such as the ability to swap out hard drives
without turning the system off, and redundant power supplies. The new server
also features a processor monitoring system; in a dual-processor
configuration, the system can take a faulty processor offline and restart
itself as a single-processor system.
ALR is offering 200-MHz Pentium Pro-based systems starting at $3,495. The
server will also be offered with 233-, 266-, and 300-MHz Pentium II
processors as standard. A 233-MHz Pentium II system will be priced starting
at $3,595, while a 300-MHz Pentium II system will be priced starting at
$4,995. All systems have 13 drive bays, which allow for a total of up to
100GB of storage space.
The new systems will be available in August, but the 300-MHz Pentium II
systems won't be available until later in the third quarter, according to
The server is the company's first new product since being acquired by Gateway 2000.
ALR will sell the new products through VARs, or value-added resellers. The
two companies are planning to eventually mix and match their products to
serve both the direct and VAR sales channels, though. ALR will sell Gateway
products under its own brand name while Gateway says it expects to start
selling servers directly to customers by the fourth quarter.
"I'm sure Gateway would start with low-end [servers]. As they move
into six-way systems and systems with Wolfpack clustering, that will
definitely require advice and consulting from the channel to support those
sales," said Dataquest's Sheridan. "As the complexity of systems increases,
the channel will be more important to those sales. On the low end, four-way
systems and below can easily be sold into the direct channel," he noted.