Dell to Serve Enterprise with 2- and 4-Way Servers

NEW YORK -- The future of even the largest enterprise computing applications lies with small two-processor and four-processor servers ganged together to build larger systems, according to Michael Dell.

During an event on Wednesday designed to give analysts and financial journalists a glimpse at Dell Computer's enterprise strategy, the company's chairman and CEO said that eight-processor and larger servers will be eclipsed by smaller systems over the next few years.

"The forecast has actually come down for eight-way machines because the performance of the two- and four-ways keeps improving," said Dell, citing an analyst report.

Dell joined with Oracle Corp. chairman and CEO Larry Ellison to promote Oracle and Linux on Dell as the future of enterprise computing. The companies on Wednesday announced an expansion of their existing relationship with Dell selling Oracle databases on its servers, running Red Hat Linux Advanced Server or Windows Server.

"I believe in a couple of years Linux and Dell will be the dominant computer in the enterprise," Ellison said. It's not the first time Ellison has predicted the downfall of Windows due to some emerging trend ranging from network computers to database appliances.

What was new was that longtime Microsoft-booster Michael Dell was talking primarily about Linux and hardly mentioning Windows at all with just a few weeks to go until the Windows Server 2003 launch. It follows a trend over the last few months in which Dell has tended to highlight exclusively Linux-related customer wins and high-performance computing grids.

Facing a direct question about the lack of Microsoft in Dell's roadmap, Dell answered that: "Microsoft still is a big partner for us. We still use a lot of Windows [internally.] We'll ship a lot more Windows servers than we did last year. We're happy to offer our customers the most popular platforms."

But Dell also noted that market research firms like IDC and others project that most of the growth in new server systems over the next few years will come on Linux.

Despite all the Linux hoopla, when it came time for a Dell customer roundtable, three out of five customers on the panel were discussing their Windows on Dell infrastructures.

About the Author

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

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