New Dell servers gun for Unix boxes

Network professionals wanting Intel-based Web or application servers that are as fast as Unix boxes might want to take a look at the servers Dell Computer Corp. introduced last month.

Dell rolled out two 800MHz processors that the company claims are ideal for Web hosting, e-commerce authentication or application servers. The single- and dual-processor PowerEdge servers are Pentium III Xeon systems with 133MHz front side buses that feature an advanced caching system. The front side bus is the data path between the processor and memory. By moving Level 2 cache from the backside bus to the front side, performance is increased.

That system increases processing and performance speeds by placing the 256KB Level 2 cache directly on the processor chipset.

“For a very heavy Web site with a lot of application and transaction traffic, the more horsepower the better,” says Mike Zeiman, IT analyst for Dow Chemical Employees Credit Union in Midland, Mich. “Traditionally, the Intel platform has fallen behind in performance to some Unix boxes. This is a place where someone may look at the Intel platform in place of a Unix box.”

Dell will announce the PowerEdge 2450, a rack-mounted machine that accommodates up to 21 servers in a standard rack. The 2450 supports hot-pluggable redundant drives, optional hot-pluggable power supplies, 2GB of memory and up to 89GB of internal memory.

The server contains an on-board 10/100Mbps Ethernet network adapter and a single-channel Ultra3 SCSI RAID controller on the motherboard for easy connectivity to internal storage. The 2450, which can be clustered, can run Windows NT and 2000, NetWare and Linux operating systems. Prices begin at US$4,000. The box is available now.

The PowerEdge 4400, in addition, offers a floor- as well as rack-mounted configuration with up to 4GB of RAM, 288GB of internal storage, dual-channel Ultra3 SCSI RAID controller on the motherboard and 64-bit quad independent PCI bus support. Both servers also support Fibre Channel. The 4400’s pricing begins at US$4,700. The server is available immediately.

Dell Canada in North York, Ont. can be reached at or 1-800-289-3355.