First, there were so-called small-business computers. Now, computer companies are specializing even more with servers designed specifically for the burgeoning small-business market.
IBM estimates a sizable 24 per-cent of the servers bought in the United States today are used in companies with fewer than 50 employees. To meet entrepreneurs' growing needs, IBM recently released the AS/400 Advanced Entry. Unlike earlier IBM servers for the small-business market, which are primarily for first-time users who want to share printers and files, the AS/400 Advanced Entry is aimed at small companies with a higher level of needs, says Steve Early at IBM.
"The AS/400 is primarily oriented toward businesses that have had a server before and want to tie their applications together," explains Early. "They can move to the AS/400 system to have all their applications integrated."
Perhaps the most notable feature of the AS/400 is its built-in Web-serving capabilities which, in effect, give small companies the power to host their Web sites internally. The AS/400 also boasts fax and wireless local area network features, as well as the ability to handle many database tasks. Cost: starting at $7,995.