Dell sets out new product strategy

Servers, desktops and notebooks were on display in Barcelona this week, as Dell embraces Intel's quad-core chips
Written by Colin Barker, Contributor

Aiming to spell out its credentials as an enterprise player while still paying due attention to the home and small-business customer, Dell launched a range of new products and services on Tuesday at a major press launch in Barcelona.

This was a launch that had it all, from new multi-core processors — including Dell's first quad-core products — to low-cost laptops. Along the way, Dell found time to fully embrace AMD with dual-core desktops and servers as well as a low-cost laptop.

The signature announcement was Dell's launch of four quad-core PowerEdge servers (the 1900, 1950, 2950 and 2900) and two blade servers the (SC1430 and 1955), all based on Intel's quad-core Xeon processors. Along with these dual-socket systems, Dell also introduced the quad-core Intel processor into the four-socket 6800 and 6850 PowerEdge servers.

But outside the Intel-based, multi-core announcements, Dell had other news. Another headline feature of the Dell announcement was the introduction of Dell's first AMD Opteron-based servers with the two-socket Dell PowerEdge SC1435 and 6950. This was part of Dell's commitment to "drive more complete and cost-effective enterprise technologies", the company said.

AMD's worldwide commercial marketing director, Bruce Shaw, said AMD was determined to continue with its approach to multi-core processors, as an alternative to Intel's approach. Intel did not have representatives in Barcelona.

Dell also launched three, high-end Precision workstations that featured quad-core processors. The Dell Precision 690 and 490 workstations can be configured with the quad-core Xeon processors, while the Precision 390 workstation supports the Intel Core 2 Extreme Quad-processor.

Other announcements included the new OptiPlex 740, a desktop that also features AMD technology, in this case a dual-core Athlon 64 X2. Dell is making a steady effort to demonstrate its "green" credentials and the 740 features technology to conserve power and dissipate heat.

Another new OptiPlex desktop, the 320, is based on the Intel Pentium D chip and also has energy-efficiency additions.

With these two new computers, Dell is focusing on easing the transition and deployment process for businesses, the company said, and "promise[s] an 18-month product lifecycle". There is built-in security and pre-loaded tools to help ease administration, configuration and the management of security.

"We continue to lead the market on allowing our customers to manage their machines," said Dell's vice president of marketing for Europe, Jeff Kimbell. According to Dell's vice president of services, Stephen Murdoch, the company now has considerable experience of managing desktops."Worldwide, we have 270,000 seats under management," he said.

On a similar front, Dell also announced new Dell/EMC mid-range storage arrays with dual-mode Fibre Channel and iSCSI technology, the UltraScale CX3-30 and CX3-40, and the PowerVault MD1000 removable storage drive for backup and restore.

The CX3-30 is Dell's first array to seriously address the data centre with a capacity for up to 120 disk drives, giving it 59TB capacity. It runs on fast 4Gbit host connections, and costs from £12,999. The CX3-40 supports up to 118TB of storage and costs from £30,699.

The PowerVault MD1000 is a combined disk and tape unit for flexible storage with archiving capacities. Prices start from £169 for a 40GB system.

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