Dell Packs Napster Into College Servers

    July 6, 2005
    WebProNews Staff

The computer company will help deliver Napster’s legal music download service to university campuses.

College settings, with their superfast Internet connections, have long been a source of ire for record company executives. With greater speeds came the temptation for more illegal downloads of music.

Dell Packs Napster Into College Servers

Now, Round Rock-based Dell will deliver its PowerEdge 1855 blade servers to the University of Washington this fall as a test of its partnership with Napster. Dell feels its hardware, combined with Napster’s software, can help institutions of higher learning recover network bandwidth and provide students with a legal outlet for their music needs.

Napster began working with colleges in 2003 in an effort to help stem the tide of university student music piracy. It should be mentioned that the original Napster, created by Shaun Fanning (now of Snocap), probably did more to make music piracy a mainstream attraction in the first place.

Dell Packs Napster Into College Servers

“As a leading provider of technology to U.S. colleges and universities, we hear from customers regularly that illegal music downloads put them, their students and their networks at risk,” said John Mullen, vice president of Dell’s higher education business.

“Napster paved the way for legal, subscription-based music services, and with this partnership, Dell is able to address what’s become a common IT challenge for university CIOs.”

The network benefit to schools like the University of Washington comes from local music storage. By purchasing subscriptions to Napster’s service through Dell account executives as discounted academic rates, a college can store that music digitally on the PowerEdge servers.

Students who then wish to purchase a title on Napster will be downloading it locally, which the two partners tout as saving on network bandwidth. But it isn’t clear just how much bandwidth could be saved, with the University already possessing a fast Internet connection.

On the hardware side, Dell will place ten of its aforementioned PowerEdge servers on the University of Washington network. Those machines will have Napster’s SuperPeer caching technology in place. That application will deliver content from a caching server to user requests.

The University of Washington sees itself enabling a service its students, faculty, and staff will find valuable. It’s also a solution that, if used widely, will reduce the chances of the school facing action on piracy issues.

“In this era of pervasive broadband networks and extraordinary new personal devices, it is important for universities to establish mechanisms that provide our students with high quality, legal access to the growing body of content available in digital repositories worldwide,” said Dr. Mark Emmert, UW president.

“This relationship with Dell and Napster will provide us with a state-of-the-art approach to downloading music.”

David Utter is a staff writer for WebProNews covering technology and business. Email him here.