HP plans low-end ProLiants

HOUSTON (10/17/2003) - Hewlett-Packard Co. says it will expand its low-end ProLiant offerings with a 100-series line of Pentium servers that can be used to create low-cost, high-performance clusters.

The servers could ship by year-end and will compete with low-priced servers from Dell Inc. such as the PowerEdge 600SC, which starts at US$549, and low-cost servers from Sun Microsystems Inc., such as the Sun Fire v60x, which starts at $2,450. They are aimed at remote offices and midsize businesses looking for reliable boxes that can be deployed with minimal IT support. IBM Corp. has yet to focus on low-end pricing, analysts say, noting that the company's low-end offerings are designed to be part of bigger services or systems deals.

"The thing about these (new HP) systems is they are meant for that part of the market where people are building out their high-performance technical clusters," says Jamie Gruener, an analyst with The Yankee Group. "They want low-CPU-count and low-cost boxes that they can scale out in a clustered way. They will compete against the white-box server market."

The 100 series is first being introduced in Asia, where HP unveiled the ML150 early last month. The first 100 series box to be introduced in the U.S. will be similar to that server, HP says. While HP wouldn't give specifics on the server, the ML150 comes with 256M bytes of memory, expandable to 12G bytes; a 36G-byte hard drive, expandable to 730G bytes of internal storage; and a PCI-X Gigabit network interface card.

HP wouldn't say how much the ProLiant 100 series servers will cost; pricing for the ML150 starts at about $1,100.

The new ProLiant 100 series servers will scale up to two Pentium 4 Prestonia processors and come in a tower configuration, the company says. As a means of scaling back cost and complexity, the box will feature only limited management capabilities from Insight Manager, including remote management. It also will include management CDs for simplified management at remote office locations.

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