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Intel Ships Carrier-Grade Server Building Blocks

In an attempt to move the standard high-volume price model into a new sector, Intel Corp. this week rolled out building blocks for creating carrier-grade servers running Windows or Linux.

"These are the first Intel-based carrier servers for the telecom industry," says Shantanu Gupta, director of marketing for the telecommunications initiative within Intel's enterprise platform group.

The servers will enter markets dominated by Sun Microsystems Inc. Intel hopes to penetrate the wireless infrastructure and applications market, the call control or software switching market, as well as several other segments of the telecom sector with the servers.

The hardware in servers for this category redefine the word rugged. Tests included dropping the server to the floor from knee height, putting an open flame inside the chassis. Surviving such beatings earned Intel the right to say the server components meet reliability requirements from the Network Equipment Building Specification (NEBS) and European Telecom Standards Institute (ETSI).

Intel began shipping a version that takes 2U of rack space to OEMs this week. Gupta says the major OEMs are expected to begin announcing models based on the building block in the first quarter of 2002.

Intel plans a 1U version of the server building block early in the first quarter of 2002. Both that and the server building block released this week are based on Pentium III processors.

Intel plans to introduce a Xeon model in the fourth quarter of 2002 and an Itanium Family (64-bit) in the first half of 2003. The servers will be available with Itanium-capable flavors of Unix, such as HP-UX, at that point.

Gupta says Intel intends to compete with Sun, which owns as much as 78 percent share in some markets according to IDC, by driving down prices.

"Our goal is to take a comparable Sun Netra, and double the performance at half the price," Gupta says. Gupta clarifies that doubling the performance might mean a combination of CPU performance, more I/O slots and more on-board networks.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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