The Dell PowerEdge 2400 workgroup server, an upgraded version of the 2300, includes features more common to larger servers.

“This is the next generation workgroup server, so it is designed for the workgroup environment, small- to medium-sized businesses. We’ve brought down a lot of the feature set that you used to find in departmental servers into this category so now it has hot-swap power supplies, a feature that was not available before in the workgroup category,” said Robert Mah, product manager for servers and storage for Dell Canada in Toronto.

The 2400 is backwards-compatible with the 2300, so customers with peripherals such as PCI cards or hard drives can interchange them if they decide to upgrade to the newer server, Mah said.

“We’ve put in a lot of expansion capability. There are six expansion slots and a potential now for up to eight hot-swappable disk drives so they have a lot of room to grow.”

Jean Bozman, an analyst with International Data Corp. in Mountain View, Calif., said the notion of putting new technology in an older box is common for Dell. She was impressed with the inclusion of Coppermine Pentium III processors as fast as 700MHz.

“The suggested uses were a slim server, a Web server, an e-mail server, that sort of thing. You could do standard file/print workload, collaborative workload, groupware… and of course you can include it in a cluster,” Bozman said.

“We thought it competed with the IBM Netfinity 3500 and 5500, the Compaq ProLiant 3000 family,” and other equivalent servers.

According to Mah, every Dell server now includes OpenManage Resolution Assistant, a diagnostic and proactive management tool.

“It’s really up to the customer to take advantage of this. If they want to use it, all they have to do is enable the software and they can set it up so that it has certain policies.”

Resolution Assistant monitors the server, and in the event of a problem, alerts Dell’s Austin, Tex.-based help desk. The help desk can then call, page or otherwise notify the customer, or even dispatch a third-party repair crew. Mah said this cuts down on the time needed for IT personnel to notice the problem, call the help centre, describe the issue and then determine a resolution.

“At the same time that this is helpful for the customer…it lowers Dell’s costs,” IDC’s Bozman said.

The PowerEdge 2400 allows one or two Pentium III processors with a 133MHz front side bus, 64-bit PCI slots, and up to 180GB of hot swappable hard drive storage capacity. It is certified to run Windows NT 4.0, NetWare 4.2 and 5, and Red Hat Linux 6.1. It is also certified for the Microsoft Small Business Server suite, and ships with Hewlett-Packard OpenView Network Node Manager Special Edition for management of up to 250 nodes.

Pricing for the PowerEdge 2400 ( starts at $3,400. Customers with previous PowerEdge servers can download Resolution Assistant from Dell’s Web site at no charge.

Dell Canada in Toronto is at 1-800-289-3355.