Acer's claim that its new AC100 micro server "brings the data center to the desk" may be a bit of a stretch, but the company is nonetheless bullish on the hardware's chances among small businesses -- particularly those with tight IT budgets.
"The AC100 provides plenty of power, security and expansion without requiring dedicated IT resources, which can be imperative for a small business," said Acer's Senior Director of commercial product marketing, Michael O'Beirne, in a company release.
That power and expandability comes wrapped in tool-less, micro-tower design with four 3.5-inch, hot-plug hard drive bays, one PCIe x8 slot, an eSATA connection and six USB expansion ports. The AC100 plugs into the network via a gigabit Ethernet (GbE) port.
All told, the AC100 can accommodate up to 8 TB of RAID-enabled storage managed by an onboard Intel C206 storage controller and 16 GB of RAM. Operating system support includes Microsoft Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials or Windows Server 2008/R2. Linux enthusiasts can opt for Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and SuSE Linux Enterprise Server.
AC100 buyers have a choice of Intel processors ranging from the Xeon E3-1200 line of server chips to more modest, consumer-grade Core i3 or Pentium models. A sample configuration with a quad-core, 2.40 GHz Intel Xeon E3-1260L processor costs $999, according to Acer.
But it takes more than compact hardware and server-grade silicon to woo small businesses. Acer believes that its latest product aligns with SMB priorities, namely data protection and cost savings.
With the AC100, Acer offers pre-configured RAID (levels 0, 1, 10 or 5, Windows only). Automated backup is also part of the server's value proposition, as is standard error-correcting code (ECC) memory to help keep application and operating system errors at bay.
On the server management front, the AC100 includes Acer Dashboard and the ITSmart suite of system utilities, which provide server health monitoring and scheduling among other maintenance functions. Xeon-powered models also get Intel's vPro Management software.
And fresh after Earth Day, Acer touts another opportunity for small business cost-savings: the electric bill. In addition to being Energy Star rated, the AC100 is powered by a 200W, 80-plus power supply that helps minimize power loss between the wall plug and system's components.
Acer's AC100 is available now via resellers.
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