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IBM Takes On Sun, HP With Next-Gen Unix Servers

IBM on Tuesday unveiled its next-generation Unix servers -- which use the new Power5 processor -- that it thinks will unseat rivals' Sun Microsystems' and Hewlett-Packard's lead.

The new servers in the pSeries -- IBM's line of Unix boxes -- are aimed to push past rivals that hold a tenuous lead over IBM. "The new p5s have literally twice the processing power of Itanium-based systems, and a 16-way p5 is equal in performance to a 72-way Sun server," claimed Karl Freund, IBM's vice president for the pSeries family.

"We've been gaining ground on Sun and HP for seven consecutive quarters," said Freund, "and Sun has just a two-point lead on us now. The p5 is going to take us on a tear."

Like its iSeries cousin, which moved to the Power5 processor in May, the pSeries p5 makes use of that CPU's virtualization and micro-partitioning capabilities to slice and dice each physical processor into as many as 10 separate virtual servers.

"I think the p5 is a pretty significant achievement," said Clay Ryder, a vice president with research firm Sageza Group. "With a price point that starts in the low five digits, customers can divvy up processors and come up with virtual Unix servers at about $1,000 each.

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