by CIO Staff

Gateway Offers IT Services to Mid-Size Cos.

Apr 25, 20063 mins
IT Leadership

Gateway will offer corporate IT services like server virtualization and networked data storage to medium-size businesses, the company said Monday.

Mid-market customers don’t get this type of attention from other hardware vendors, who are primarily focused on large, global Fortune 500 firms, according to Gateway. But at least one analyst says the company is playing catch-up.

Yet businesses in the commercial, government and education sectors also have complex and ever-changing data center technology needs. They struggle to solve those challenges with limited money and staff, the company said.

So Gateway, of Irvine, Calif., will offer those customers various options: server virtualization, backup and disaster recovery, SAN implementation, data and application migration, and data sharing over thin clients.

Gateway has priced the package at US$4,000 for an IT assessment and design plan, with more money due for an actual implementation.

The company is promising to work fast. Depending on the size of the job, Gateway could deliver a virtualized server solution within two to five days, or a storage area network in two to 20 days.

In return, mid-size companies stand to gain a more efficient IT architecture, Gateway said. An IT department that virtualizes its server operations can reduce the number of actual servers it uses by a factor of 5-1 or 10-1.

Gateway faces a tough challenge in pushing aside existing service providers in that space, whether it’s top vendors like Dell or service providers like Electronic Data Systems and Unisys, said Ron Silliman, an analyst with Gartner.

“Three guys with a cell phone and a tool kit can create a services company. This is not innovative; they are playing catch-up,” he said. “They certainly have the capabilities to do the remote end, but they didn’t say who their on-site partner will be.”

That is significant because Dell has led the market to commoditize the product support piece of the hardware services business, Silliman said.

The services market has seen tremendous market consolidation. Until 2001, the top 10 players held about 15 percent market share. But after the Y2K scare, nearly every company in the United States was on warranty at the same time, and today the top 10 service providers hold 48 percent market share.

Also aiming for customers in education and mobile business, Gateway on Thursday launched two new convertible notebook PCs.

Users can convert both the M285-E and the CX210 from notebooks into tablet PCs by swiveling the 14-inch display and folding it down over the keyboard. They can then use a stylus to perform handwritten applications on the displays.

Both computers use Intel’s Core Duo processor and Centrino mobile wireless technology.

Like its predecessor, the M280, the new M285-E is designed for networked IT applications such as business, government and education. It is available now from Gateway for US$1,399.99. The CX210 marks an upgrade over its predecessor, the CX200, and will be available for sale in late May. Gateway has not yet announced a price.

-Ben Ames, IDG News Service

Check out our CIO News Alerts and Tech Informer pages for more updated news coverage.