E-Commerce Appliances To Debut

Network Engines plans to unveil the WebEngine Roadster, a low-cost, Intel-based server appliance that the company said will allow online businesses to provide Web content easily and reliably.

Roadster, like other Network Engines servers, is 1.75 inches high, allowing up to 40 servers to fit in a standard equipment rack. The server, which offers a full software suite, including Web publishing, e-mail and file-transfer services, works in large clusters and can scale up to 256 units.

Vernon Jordan, an analyst at International Data Corp, said Network Engines has demonstrated capabilities by "creating highly available scalable platforms" for Web-hosting server applications.

The Roadster LX costs $US1,995. It will come with Red Hat's Linux and Apache Web server software. The Roadster NT, priced at $2,695, will come preloaded with Windows NT and Microsoft Internet Information Server software. It will begin shipping in the first quarter.

Network Engines will also unveil a new Internet Appliance Architecture that the company said will offer a different approach to conducting e-commerce.

The company said the new appliance architecture replaces multifunction servers with a series of application-specific appliances.

"These guys really get it," said James Gruener, managing director of Windows 2000 Platforms at Aberdeen Group. "They're making a product line that provides manageability, availability and better reliability features in a slim-designed Internet appliance server."

The Internet Appliance Architecture consists of four 1.75-inch-high Internet appliances, each dedicated to a specific task, Network Engines said. The server appliance comes installed with management software that notifies system managers if there's a problem.

The Internet Appliance Architecture is aimed at a worldwide appliance server market that will top $7.9 billion in revenues on more than 2 million units shipped by 2003, according to IDC.

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