Six Server Segments: Guidelines for Categorizing Servers Page 2

Segment Definitions

For the purposes of this document, we will use the definitions below. Over time, these definitions have changed, and will continue to change. We expect segments will consolidate. Refer to the figure below for an approximate user quantity vs. segment map.


Users: Generally serves small groups, from as few as as two or three clients or users to up to 20 or 30
Pricing: Usually low-priced (under $2,000)
Typical Uses: E-mail, file, and print serving
Functionality: Medium functionality, positioned slightly above a high-end PC Examples: Compaq ProLiant 800HP, Dell PowerEdge 1300, and NetServer E60


Users: Handles moderate-sized groups, from 10 to 50 or more users (can sometimes handle as many as 100 users)
Pricing: A base price of less than $2,000 for some models
Typical Uses: E-mail, file, and print serving
Functionality: Increased reliability, power, and functionality
Additional Comments: The line between workgroup and department servers is becoming blurred as high-end computing power increases.
Examples: PowerEdge 2300, NetServer LC3, IBM Netfinity 5600, and ProLiant 1600


Users: Handles larger groups, starting at around 50 users, can handle groups of up to 100 to 200, or more users
Pricing: Starts at $3,000 to $4,000 for base systems
Typical Uses: Messaging, e-mail, file/print serving, and midrange computer-intense tasks
Functionality: Reliability and performance features become more significant and powerful.
Additional Comments: These servers are sometimes referred to as small to midsize business servers. The line between department and midrange servers is becoming blurred as high-end computing power increases.
Examples: NetServer LH3, Netfinity 5500 M10, ProLiant 3000, and PowerEdge 4300


Users: Handles large groups, 200 to 500 or more users and clients
Pricing: Starting above $5,000, generally in the $7,000 to $8,000 range for a base system; fully configured systems can easily exceed $500,000
Typical Uses: Data warehousing, large database management, and heavy-duty transaction processing
Functionality: Much greater emphasis on reliability, performance, and functionality
Additional Comments: At this level, servers are sometimes architected to have functionality moved "outside the box." For example, hard disk storage within the server may be minimal (just enough to hold the OS), and the server is designed to be rack-mounted with a large RAID array installed in the same rack.
Examples: IBM Netfinity 7000 M10, ProLiant 6500, PowerEdge 6300, and NetServer LH4


Users: Generally exceeding 500 users/clients, sometimes more than 1000
Pricing: Starts in the $20,000 range for basic systems, but a fully-configured system, plus associated storage, memory, and options can exceed $1 million.
Typical Uses: Data warehousing, massive database management, high intensity transaction processing(>40,000 tpmC)
Functionality: Reliability is extremely important, more so than pricing; computing performance and functionality are also key
Examples: ProLiant 8500, PowerEdge 8450, NetServer LXr 8500, and Netfinity 8500


Users: ISPs, small groups
Pricing: About $1,000 for a base system
Typical Uses: Web caching, Web serving, intranet serving, and storage area networks
Functionality: Easy to install and set up, scalability, and CPU density (in rackmount systems)
Examples: Cobalt Networks RaQ2, Whistle Communications InterJet, Netfinity 4000R, NetServer LPr, and Compaq TaskSmart

This article was originally published on Jan 5, 2000
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