Intel Ships Carrier-Grade Server Building Blocks

In an attempt to move the standard high-volume price model into a new sector,Intel Corp. this week rolled out building blocks for creating carrier-gradeservers running Windows or Linux.

"These are the first Intel-based carrier servers for the telecomindustry," says Shantanu Gupta, director of marketing for thetelecommunications initiative within Intel's enterprise platform group.

The servers will enter markets dominated by Sun Microsystems Inc. Intelhopes to penetrate the wireless infrastructure and applications market, thecall control or software switching market, as well as several other segments ofthe telecom sector with the servers.

The hardware in servers for this category redefine the word rugged.Tests included dropping the server to the floor from knee height, putting anopen flame inside the chassis. Surviving such beatings earned Intel the rightto say the server components meet reliability requirements from the NetworkEquipment Building Specification (NEBS) and European Telecom StandardsInstitute (ETSI).

Intel began shipping a version that takes 2U of rack space to OEMs thisweek. Gupta says the major OEMs are expected to begin announcing models basedon the building block in the first quarter of 2002.

Intel plans a 1U version of the server building block early in the firstquarter of 2002. Both that and the server building block released this week arebased on Pentium III processors.

Intel plans to introduce a Xeon model in the fourth quarter of 2002 andan Itanium Family (64-bit) in the first half of 2003. The servers will beavailable with Itanium-capable flavors of Unix, such as HP-UX, at that point.

Gupta says Intel intends to compete with Sun, which owns as much as 78percent share in some markets according to IDC, by driving down prices.

"Our goal is to take a comparable Sun Netra, and double theperformance at half the price," Gupta says. Gupta clarifies that doublingthe performance might mean a combination of CPU performance, more I/O slots andmore on-board networks. – Scott Bekker