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HP releases budget-minded Unix servers

The company plans to unveil Tuesday a trio of slimmed-down Unix servers that offer a lower price tag for budget-conscious IT departments.

Hewlett-Packard plans to unveil Tuesday a trio of slimmed-down Unix servers that offer a lower price tag for budget-conscious IT departments.

The new Unix/RISC servers--2505, 5405 and 7405 models--are essentially economy-class versions of the company's 2400, 5400 and 7400 server models. The new servers include 650MHz PA-8700 processors, and are only offered in a few set configurations.

These changes, however rigid, allow HP to sell the systems for 10 to 40 percent less--a crucial distinction in tight economic times.

"There's been a shift in enterprise buyers to look (more) at affordability and value," said John Miller, server marketing manager for HP's business critical systems group.

The processors in the new servers can be partitioned, or divided, so the hardware is able to run different applications and operating systems and can accommodate other PA-RISC or Itanium chips.

Through the Compaq merger, HP has become one of the largest and most diverse server manufacturers in the industry. The company sells two kinds of Unix servers, high-end NonStop servers, typically used to run ATM networks and stock exchanges, and other machines that are used to run older operating systems. The company is also the largest manufacturer of Intel-based servers.

In the second quarter, HP tied IBM for server market share in terms of revenue, according to market research firm IDC. IBM grabbed $2.93 billion in revenue from server sales, while HP sold $2.926 billion in server hardware.

"This is the first time we can remember when anyone tied with IBM," said Jean Bozman, research vice president at IDC.

But as in the PC market, HP's lead is tenuous. Revenue for HP dropped 18.1 percent from the second quarter in 2001 while revenue for IBM, and the overall server market, declined only 16.2 percent.

In PCs, HP surpassed Dell Computer to become the world's largest PC maker, but HP's market share continues to decline while Dell's share grows.

The Unix/RISC 2405 server starts at $4,795, and comes with one 650MHz processor, two 18GB hard drives and 512MB of memory. The 5405 starts at $29,026, and comes with two 650MHz processors, 4GB of memory and 72GB of disk room. It can accomodate up to four processors.

The 7405 starts at $50,595, and comes with two 650MHz processors, 4GB of memory and 146GB of disk space. It can accomodate up to eight processors.