IBM Tuesday is expected to unveil a line of low-priced servers, aiming to grab a share of the small-business market.
IBM's plans closely follow rival Sun Microsystems, which earlier this month released a series of low-cost servers starting at $745 with an Opteron 146 processor and Solaris 10. IBM's line starts with the xSeries 100 server, which carries a list price of $599 with an Intel Celeron processor. The x100 will support up to a Pentium 4 dual-core processor and can be loaded with Windows Small Business Server 2003, Windows Server 2003 Standard Edition or Enterprise Edition, Red Hat Enterprise Linux, or SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
The x100 is aimed at companies with up to 50 employees and will be sold under IBM's Express brand for small business, said Bruce Corregan, manager of xSeries systems brand marketing for the Americas at IBM, Armonk, N.Y.
"We deserve a share in that space," Corregan said. "Our goal is to demonstrate, particularly to small customers, that we are serious about doing business with them, and we are not the most expensive vendor or the most difficult vendor to do business with."
Though IBM's announcement is timed closely to the release of Sun's Galaxy server line, IBM executives denied that the new line was a reaction to its rival's foray into the low end. "Galaxy looks like it is targeted at the data center," said Stuart McRae, IBM's worldwide marketing manager of high-volume servers and workstations.