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Gateway releases new servers

The direct vendor officially enters the server market, while subsidiary ALR slashes prices up to 35 percent on its multiprocessor servers.

Gateway 2000 (GTW) officially entered the server market today with the release of the NS server line, while ALR, a company Gateway bought earlier this year, slashed prices up to 35 percent on its multiprocessor servers.

The server announcements, combined with new workstations offerings (see related story), are the first two steps in an aggressively encompassing strategy by the direct-mail vendor to grab more of the corporate market. Gateway is especially interested in stealing some thunder from arch rival Dell, which is presently the largest vendor in the U.S. of desktop PCs to corporations.

"Server manufacturers have enjoyed high margins at the expense of their customers. Our announcement today will certainly be welcome news for server buyers," said chief executive officer Ted Waitt in a statement today.

Gateway says that the new servers will include technology developed by ALR which monitors processor operation; in a dual-processor configuration, for instance, the system can take a faulty processor offline and restart itself as a single-processor system.

The NS servers also have Informanager, ALR's technology for monitoring system operational data. System administrators can view the information to diagnose problems. Software monitoring is supported on several major operating system platforms via use of applets.

The NS 7000 supports up to two Pentium Pro and Pentium II microprocessors. The server, which is designed for workgroups, contains room for 512MB of memory and three "hot swapable" hard disk drives. Pricing starts at $2,499.

The NS 8000, which is designed for departments, can support two Pentium Pro or Pentium II processors, up to 512MB in memory, and up to 12 disk drives. Pricing starts at $3,799. On the high end, the NS 9000 is designed to hold up to six Pentium Pro processors and starts at $12,999.

In June, Gateway purchased ALR in a transaction worth $194 million. Industry observers say the merger fills a strategic need because Gateway will be considered more seriously by corporations who want to buy both desktop PCs and servers from the same vendor.

Also today, ALR lowered prices on its Revolution 6X6 servers, which come with six 200-MHz Pentium Pro processors with 512K L2 cache. The servers are now priced starting at $7,995, a 35 percent reduction from the previous price.

ALR also introduced two new dual processor servers. The Revolution 2X and Revolution 2XL dual-processing workgroup/departmental servers. The servers come with either Pentium Pro or Pentium II processors and are priced from $2,400 to $3,500.

ALR will sell the new products through VARs, or value-added resellers, while Gateway's servers will be sold directly to customers.