Gateway To Re-enter Storage Market As Part Of New Channel Push

The move comes at the same time the company is launching a renewed push into the channel.

Poway, Calif.-based Gateway had a storage business back in 1997 when it acquired Advanced Logic Research, but over time that business dwindled, said Scott Weinbrandt, general manager of the company's Systems and Networking Products Division.

More recently, Gateway did have a short-lived relationship with Maxtor under which it resold that vendor's NAS appliances until Maxtor left the NAS business about a year ago.

On Tuesday, Gateway is expected to introduce a SCSI JBOD (just a bunch of disks) array. This 2U-high unit offers Ultra320 SCSI connectivity, scales to 2 TBytes and will be priced at about $12,000.

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The array is aimed at the entry-level storage space occupied by Hewlett-Packard and Dell, said Weinbrandt, who left Dell in January to move to Gateway. Starting price is $2,999 with three 36-GByte hard drives, he said.

The company also plans to unveil the Gateway 820 autoloader on Tuesday. The unit includes one Seagate-made LTO-2 tape drive and can store a maximum of 1.6 TBytes in 2U of space. The price is $5,999, which includes one tape cartridge and one cleaning tape. "We are at least $500 less than the competitors," Weinbrandt said.

The new storage products come on the heals of Gateway's first four-way server, introduced on Aug. 4. The Gateway 995 is a 4U, four-way Xeon MP server with a starting price of $5,999 with one processor, 512-MByte memory, one 36-GByte hard drive, rack rails and a third redundant power supply. It is aimed at HP and Dell entry-level servers, which Weinbrandt said start at $6,500, but which do not include the rack rails or the third power supply. A fully-configured model costs just over $20,000, he said.

In order to move into what for Gateway is a higher-end product than it has been known for, the company has made significant investments in products, manufacturing, sales channels and supply management, said Weinbrandt. "We are truly serious about this business," he said.

Errett Kroeter, director of partner programs for Gateway, said a big part of the company's strategy with the new products is to drive sales through solution providers.

"Revitalizing the channel is a part of our corporate strategy," Kroeter said. "The new Systems and Networking Products Division means new business for us. So we want an indirect strategy as well as a direct strategy."

Kroeter admitted that memories may be long in terms of how Gateway worked with the channel in the past. "We're up front about it," he said. "But we didn't have a lot of the products before that we have today. For these new products, customers require full solutions, and that mean opportunities for partners. Our products offer very good value to customers, so they will be of interest to our channel partners."

Dennis Obial, president and CEO of Government Acquisition, a Cincinnati, Ohio-based solution provider and partner of Gateway since 1992, said his firm has been able to thrive despite Gateway's direct emphasis in the past by proving its value to government clients.

"If you are a true value-added reseller, you are not just pushing a box," Obial said. "You are adding value, doing things Gateway can't do."

Gateway has good quality products and good brand recognition, which are plusses for partners, Obial said.