Rackmountable Linux server starts at $999

Rackmountable Linux server starts at $999

The ServeLinux clusters can include as many as 100 servers or desktop PCs to avoid downtime

By Mark A. Kellner

Special to GCN

A $999 rackmountable Linux server from startup ServeLinux USA of Fremont, Calif., will target federal field offices and workgroups.

The server was introduced at the Computex 2000 trade show in Taipei, Taiwan, said Steven Wang, executive vice president of ServeLinux USA.

He said the lowest-priced competitor to date sells for about $1,500 without a video card, Ethernet networking or RAID storage built in.

The ServeLinux rackmount server can accept dual Socket 370 CPUs, such as Intel Celeron or Coppermine chips, and up to 1G of synchronous dynamic RAM or error-correcting code memory. It has onboard SCSI control and dual LAN and RAID storage interfaces.

The operating system is TurboLinux Server from TurboLinux Inc. of San Francisco.

No dual now

Wang said the first $999 server boxes, built with the Cyrix III processor from VIA Technologies Inc. of Taiwan, will not have dual CPUs. Built-to-order units, however, can have dual Celeron or Pentium III processors.

'The difference will be just the cost of the processors,' Wang said. Extra memory and hard drive storage also would boost the price above $1,000.

A ServeLinux Web ordering site, at www.servelinux.com, will open for orders this month, and shipments will begin next month. Wang said the company will have a government sales team.

'We decided to fix a price that would be attractive before we nailed down all the specifications,' he said. 'Then we worked on the bill of materials. If that bill of materials cannot fit the price point, we readjust it or renegotiate with suppliers,' Wang said.

In the case of the rackmountable 2U, or 3.6-inch, Cyrix III server, the bill of materials is stabilized and the company can live with the price, Wang said.

He said the company's Blue Penguin clustering technology can link up to 100 of the servers or desktop PCs for high performance.''If any single unit goes down, the workload is offset to other units,' he said.

According to market researcher International Data Corp. of Framingham, Mass., Linux server shipments rose 166 percent above the 1998 figures to 72,422 units in the last three months of 1999, making that the fastest-growing segment of the server market.

Small but vital

'Even though Linux represents a small portion [about 6 percent] of the entry-level server market in unit shipments, it will become an important area of growth as more branded vendors come out with Linux offerings,' said Hoang Nguyen, senior research analyst for IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker.

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