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Google To Sell New Dell Servers As Search Appliance

Dell and Google ink a new pact under which the search leader will use the computer maker's new PowerEdge servers for its search appliance.
Dell's new PowerEdge server line, which use Intel's higher-performance and lower-power Woodcrest processor platform and were introduced on Thursday, has already yielded one new high-profile customer win: Google is going to use them for its search appliance.

The Web search giant will use the new PowerEdge servers to create a product that is bundled with other hardware and software and sold to businesses to create a high-performance search platform for internal documents and databases.

Google has been using Dell servers for internal use for some time, but this is believed to be the first time that Google is using Dell systems as a core platform for its search appliance.

This is the second major deal between Dell and Google in recent weeks. Google is paying an undisclosed amount to Dell to have Google search software—Google Desktop and Google Toolbar—installed on Dell computers in multiyear, worldwide agreement involving tens of millions of computers. In addition, Microsoft Internet Explorer 6 will be set to use a Google home page.

As for the latest pact, "we are serving as a supplier to Google," a Dell spokesman says. "We will put their unique [brand] on the front, so it's clearly Google's product. It will be our hardware and their software that we load for them. We do kind of a turnkey build on the system. Ultimately it's their product they are providing to their customers."

Google in April started offering new enterprise search hardware, along with an expanded developer program and partnerships with major business software vendors. It's all aimed at letting the Google Search Appliance find and present broader swaths of business data. Most notably, through an application programming interface called OneBox, a company's IT team can make real-time data from ERP, CRM, and other business applications accessible through a Google search box.

Google did not immediately return calls seeking comment on the new arrangement with Dell, or to discuss how big a factor the improved performance expected on Dell's new servers had on its decision.

The new servers will increase performance by 150% or better over existing Dell servers, and reduce power consumption by 25%, says Neil Hand, VP of worldwide enterprise marketing for Dell. "That is not all driven by Intel's new [processors], but by a lot of effort Dell has put behind these platforms to look at them holistically," he says. That has included new fans and power supply designs, as well as improved management capabilities.

Intel's Woodcrest platform for servers uses a dual-core processor based on its new Core architecture that company introduced earlier this year. The Core architecture, which will also be used in processors for Intel's desktop and mobile platforms as well, is expected to provide increased competitive footing against processors from Advanced Micro Devices that have enjoyed a performance-per-watt advantage versus Intel processors in many applications.