Fourth-Quarter Releases Will Have Substance Over Style

System builders are still expecting Intel, Santa Clara, Calif., to ship a 3.8GHz Pentium 4 ahead of new dual-core chips by Intel and Sunnyvale, Calif.-based AMD next year.

IBM and EMC will have new storage offerings. And document hardware vendors such as Xerox, Stamford, Conn., and Lexmark, Lexington, Ky., have signaled they will ship new products into the channel by the middle of the quarter.

Intel said earlier this year that its previous plans to ship a 4GHz desktop processor would be put on hold. But Mike Zabaneh, COO of Tangent Computer, a Burlingame, Calif.-based system builder, said he didn't think that would put too much of a damper on business. While missing the 4GHz processor, other chips would still be able to move the market toward adoption of better-performing chips with higher margins.

"They are going to have the 3.6GHz and the 3.8GHz," Zabaneh said. "Most of the [end users] go after the sweet spot. Now the sweet spot is going to be more to the 3GHz and 3.2GHz."

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On the storage side, information life-cycle management will continue to be a theme in the final quarter of 2004. EMC, Hopkinton, Mass., plans to release enhanced versions of its EmailXtender e-mail management software and DatabaseXtender database management software.

EmailXtender has been focused on the Lotus Notes space, but the new release brings its capabilities for Exchange 2003 up to date with Notes, said Chuck Hollis, vice president of storage platforms at EMC. Data-baseXtender had focused on Oracle applications but is getting functionality for PeopleSoft and custom Oracle and Sybase applications.

Meanwhile, StorageTek, Louisville, Colo., plans to take advantage of its new Global Storage Manager software, which it got with its acquisition of Storability, to enhance the information life-cycle management capabilities of its hardware.

When used with StorageTek products such as the L180 and L700, both of which are sold through the channel, the software increases information life-cycle management capabilities in three ways, said Todd Rief, director of corporate strategy at StorageTek. First, the Storability software monitors storage utilization and can often identify excess capacity that could be used more effectively. Second, the software increases reliability of data backups by monitoring the backup success rate of individual servers to point out problem areas. Third, the software helps optimize long-term compliance and archive solutions, Rief said.

>> PRODUCT PREVIEW: On the storage side, information life-cycle management will continue to be a theme.

EMC rival IBM, Armonk, N.Y., on Oct. 12 is slated to release a higher-performing TotalStorage product based on the company's Power5 processor technology.

For other vendors, simplification will be the goal. Dot Hill, Carlsbad, Calif., expects to start shipping the SANnet 2 Serial ATA Special Edition array specifically to the channel this quarter, said Omar Barraza, director of marketing.

The array includes embedded technology, which Dot Hill calls "switchless SAN." It allows up to 12 servers to connect via Fibre Channel directly to the array without the need for an external Fibre Channel switch, making it suitable for smaller businesses that cannot afford a full-blown SAN. It is available only via the channel and comes in 1-Tbyte, 2-Tbyte and 3-Tbyte versions.

Overland Storage, San Diego, this month plans to ship its REO 9000, a disk-based data backup and recovery appliance with capacity of up to 9.6 Tbytes of Serial ATA disks that can be dynamically configured as virtual tape drives.

With the REO 9000, which starts at $41,250, it is not necessary to specify the size of the virtual tape drive, said John Matze, vice president and CTO. Instead, up to 64 virtual devices can be reconfigured automatically during the backup process to a maximum of 4 Tbytes compressed capacity each.