Toshiba server appliance to debut next year

The electronics giant will announce at the Comdex trade show on Monday that the company is entering the hot but crowded server appliance market in the first quarter of 2001.

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Stephen Shankland
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Toshiba will enter the hot but crowded server appliance market in the first quarter of 2001, the Japanese electronics giant will announce at the Comdex trade show Monday.

Server appliances are Comdex 2000:
Back to the future special-purpose computers that handle network chores such as housing Web pages, encrypting communications or protecting corporate computer systems. They're designed to be cheaper, easier to use or faster than general-purpose servers. Start-ups and established computing goliaths all are elbowing for a share of the market.

Toshiba's first server appliance, the Magnia SG10, will be a multipurpose model designed to handle a number of Internet tasks for small businesses, the company said. In addition, the company plans to offer services for the device such as remote management or installation.

Although Toshiba demonstrated a server appliance from Western Digital's Connex division earlier this year, this model was designed completely by Toshiba, a spokeswoman said.

The machine will use Red Hat's version of Linux, the spokeswoman added, but Toshiba declined to say which company's CPU is inside. Intel has an aggressive push to become a key piece of server appliances, a battle it's winning in the cost-conscious segments.

Toshiba declined to release pricing specifics, but the company said its server appliances will be cheaper than the competition.

The Toshiba machine competes with multipurpose server appliances such as Cobalt's Qube 3--soon to become part of Sun Microsystems' product line--as well as IBM's Whistle, Technauts' eServer, and machines people can make for themselves by installing CyberNet's NetMax or similar server appliance software.

The Magnia SG10 also will come with Bluetooth and other wireless networking technology, Web hosting abilities, ways to register Internet addresses, and Internet-based backups, Toshiba said.