Digital is wading deeper into the PC server market with enhanced systems based on Pentium Pro processors that will sell for lower prices than competitive servers.
While this is good news for resellers and systems integrators looking for alternative brand-name products in the PC server business, the lower prices will also mean lower hardware margins.
"Our pricing on these new servers certainly pinches prices down to the PC level and that squeezes resellers' margins," said Mark Whittard, marketing manager for Digital's PC business unit.
"We expect resellers to become more specialised in particular markets and bundle into a sale high-ticket items like training," he said.
The Prioris XL 6000 entry-level system is based on either a 180MHz or 200MHz processor - both with 256K of on-chip cache. The system is designed to replace desktop PCs being used as servers in small- to medium-sized businesses.
The MX 6000 is an application server based on a 200MHz processor. Dual processor and standard rack-mounted versions are also available.
Prices for the XL 6000 start at about $3000 and for the Prioris MX at about $6000. The rack-mount enclosure for up to eight Prioris servers will be around $9000.
Bundled with the new servers are Digital's ServerWORKS network and server management software. Both new servers have been optimised for Windows NT Server but have also been certified for NetWare and UnixWare.
The company places itself second after Compaq in the PC server business. "We have about 19 per cent of the server market - second after Compaq's share of 35 per cent," said Whittard.
Digital is continuing with its two-tier distribution model - through a group of systems integrators and five major distributors handling the rest of the reseller market. It is making the new servers to order at its facility in Lane Cove, NSW.