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Dell busts out appliance baby for OEMs

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Dell has an interesting side gig going where it makes appliance-like gear for OEMs. This week it rounded out the appliance play via a new low-end server that's of particular interest because it's small enough to fit into telco racks.

We give you the CR100, which is about as basic as a box can get. While 1U high, the system only goes back 15.7 inches or 16.75 inches with a bezel. It runs on 800MHz members of Intel's embedded processor family, including the Core 2 Duo E4300, Pentium Dual-Core E2160 and Celeron. The system also supports up to 8GB of memory and can hold 2.5 inch and 3.5 inch SATA disks.

To date, Dell has offered a range of OEM gear above this unit, although it mostly sells two-socket, 1U systems. Dell argues that the new smaller unit will help it cater to a broader audience, since the unit can tuck right into tighter telco racks. In addition, OEMs might see the smaller system as a way to put their appliances in the hands of SMBs who don't have much in the way of a rack at all for storing their gear. Here, a closest or cabinet will do.

One of the best-known Dell-made appliances is the search box offered by Google. This unit is of particular note because it's yellow and has the Google name associated with it.

As part of its OEM business, Dell affords all customers the right to yellow. In fact, it offers up a wide range of colors and customization options. Most importantly, Dell will help customers turn these basic boxes into appliances by burning OEM software onto the machines at its own factories. It will then handle the shipping for the customers, if they like.

The Dell OEM group has been around for 10 years, although the company claims that the business is really taking off of late. Some customers use the hardware as the basis for medical machines, kiosks and the like. But the strongest part of the business comes from appliances for security, networking and software vendors.

We're told that most of the OEM clients will need to pull in about $1m to $2m per year from their appliances to make the partnership worthwhile.

There's more information on the appliances here. ®

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