IBM Aims New iSeries Servers At SMBs

IBM has enhanced its iSeries server line to make it more competitive in the SMB space.

May 24, 2004

2 Min Read
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IBM has enhanced its iSeries server line to make it more competitive in the SMB space with the addition of two new models with lower price points and increased capabilities.

The company earlier this month introduced two new iSeries i5 servers. The 520 and 570 models are the first i5 servers to use the Power5 processors found in IBM's pSeries Unix servers. The 520 model is a one-way or two-way server and can be ordered in a rack-mount or pedestal design, while the 570 model can be configured from a one-way to a four-way model and comes in a rack-mount configuration, said Ian Jarman, IBM's eServer i5 product manager.

The 570 can be ordered with two or four processors built-in. Customers can activate the processors one at a time via the server's capacity-on-demand methods, which include permanent capacity upgrade, temporary capacity upgrade which adjusts performance for peak use, or reserved capacity which allows customers to pay for a particular period of capacity upgrade in advance. Prices for the 520 and 570 start at $11,500.

The new i5 servers are also the first in the iSeries to support IBM AIX, as well as OS400, Linux and Windows. Partners who want to offer AIX on the i5 servers must have pSeries certification. The servers also can run Linux on an integrated Intel-based server blade which lets the i5 server manage multiple servers, Jarman said.

Meanwhile, IBM is dropping the price of memory, hard disks and other components in the i5 servers to make them comparable in price to the same components in its pSeries servers, Jarman said. The price cuts can translate to an 80 percent cut in memory prices and a 20 percent to 30 percent cuts in hard-drive prices.The ability to run multiple operating systems on an iSeries server should not be undervalued, especially as customers look to consolidate servers, said Mitch Kleinman, executive vice president and general manager of Computer Configuration Services.

The Irvine, Calif.-based IBM solution provider has done a lot of Windows server consolidation on iSeries, he said. For example, while Windows can address multiple data volumes, up to 64 Gbytes each, the volumes are managed separately. But on an iSeries, those volumes, as well as data stored on virtual Linux and Unix servers, can be managed easily from a single machine, he said.

The new line also features a 2-GBps internal LAN, compared with other servers' Gigabit Ethernet external LANs of 1 Gbps. "So if you have several IBM xSeries [Windows servers] connected inside an iSeries, you get a high-speed LAN," Kleinman said.

Customers can also use the servers' high capabilities for a variety of tasks. "A bank may run financials during the day, and then move the server resources dynamically to run other applications at night," he said.

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