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Compaq to sell Intel server appliances

The PC maker will begin reselling Intel's NetStructure line of server appliances this week, with an eye on jointly developing new special-purpose servers.

Compaq Computer called in backup units Monday to boost its developing server appliance business.

The Houston PC maker will begin reselling Intel's NetStructure line of server appliances this week, with an eye on jointly developing new server appliances, special-purpose servers designed to be cheaper or easier to use than their general-purpose brethren.

Compaq will resell NetStructure server appliances for virtual private networks, XML acceleration and Secure Socket Layer encryption and decryption, alongside its own TaskSmart server appliances. Those appliances, as well as Compaq's TaskSmart C-Series and N-Series, offer Web content caching and network attached storage. Server appliances, as a class of devices, work to increase network performance by offloading their respective duties from the server.

Compaq is not the only PC maker to begin reselling Intel NetStructure products, after Intel shifted its strategy for the product line because of complaints from its largest chip customers.

Hewlett-Packard also recently announced plans to resell the server appliances and later develop its own devices based on NetStructure hardware.

As Compaq sees it, the appliances can be used to create offerings for smaller market segments more quickly than if the PC maker developed them on its own.

By reselling the Intel server appliances, "We can supply a more holistic solution to (customers) more quickly," said John Young, Compaq's vice president of TaskSmart Servers. "These pieces complement the (server) appliances we already have.

"When you look at the individual products, it's kind of a small market," he said. "Over time, as these categories grow, we'll be investing in more differentiated products."

Also over time, Compaq will merge the two lines to create appliances that are a hybrid of the two companies' technologies.

"What we ultimately plan to do is merge the NetStructure technology into our TaskSmart line," Young said.

Compaq will look to build some of its own management tools into a hybrid NetStructure-TaskSmart server appliance, he said.

"Plus, we'll potentially be looking at new appliances," Young said.

The NetStructure products are available from Compaq now. Prices start at $2,550, the company said.