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Review: IBM's PC Servers Hit The Sweet Spot For SMBs

IBM rolled out its new line of small business servers this week. The lineup includes three models; the xSeries 100, xSeries 206m, and the xSeries 306m. But the big news for small businesses is the X100 model with a starting price of $599 and a set of features just right for environments of less than 50 users.

Buying a computer for under $600 is no great news, but there are several features that set this unit apart. The xSeries is built on a subset of IBM's xServer architecture and is targeted at being its first server specifically created for small businesses. Clearly IBM would like small businesses to have a positive experience with their servers so that as their requirements expand IBM becomes their first choice.

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In its base configuration, the xSeries 100 ships with a single 80GB SATA drive, 256MB of memory and a CD drive. The system is operating system agnostic but our test system came with Windows Server 2003 loaded. We were able to bring the system up within 5 minutes of taking it out of the box. And though we didn't run any comparative performance tests, response was speedy and consistent with our expectations of the high speed SATA drives and ECC memory.

The case can accept an additional SATA drive and a maximum of 4GB of ECC RAM. Other high performance features include the two PCI-X card slots and built-in Gigabit Ethernet connection. PCI-X slots can be useful if you want to add more than the maximum two SATA drives and get full performance from them.

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