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IBM Pushes Scalable Itanium Server

IBM debuted a new version of its Intel Itanium-based server that can scale from four to 16 processors.
The November debut of the eServer xSeries 455--a follow-on to the four-way Itanium-powered x450, IBM's July entry into the Itanium 64-bit server market--lets users stack up to a quartet of seven-inch, 4U-format modules, each with four Itanium 2 processors, said Jay Bretzmann, the manager of IBM's manager of eServer division.

Dubbing the x455 a "pay-as-you-grow" server, IBM is targeting enterprises that want to run transaction-intensive workloads with Intel-based, 64-bit processors, but need the option to easily add more capacity as that workload increases.

But don't confuse pay-as-you-grow with "on-demand," the latest buzzword, Bretzmann cautioned. "It's not capacity-on-demand at this point," he said, alluding to the increasingly popular trend to offer more computing horsepower in the box than initially necessary, then charging customers only for what they use at the moment.

"That's something we'll be addressing the first part of next year," he promised, when IBM is able to strike better deals with its processor partner. "It takes time to put processors in the hands of customers who haven't yet paid for those processors."

Instead, the x455, which will be available December 9, is built on modules that include four Itanium 2 processors, I/O expansion slots, and up to 56Gb of memory. Additional 4U-format nodes can be added, said Bretzmann, allowing enterprises to scale the x455 from four processors all the way to 16, eliminating the need to move their transactional software to another server as needs climb.

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