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IBM Unwraps Middle Tier i5 Server

IBM on Tuesday unveiled the eServer i5 550, a new addition to its Power 5-based lineup that it's aiming at mid-sized business.

The one- to four-way 550, which fills the hole between the two-way 520 and the 16-way 570, runs IBM's newest processor, the Power 5, and includes the Virtualization Engine technologies that use that chip to slice and dice physical servers into multiple virtual machines.

New in the 550 are a pair of system managers, IBM Director MultiPlatform and IBM Enterprise Workload Manager. The former, based on IBM's Director, expands IT management and monitoring to multiple operating systems, while the latter optimizes each virtual machine's application workload to boost performance. IBM also rolled out Director MultiPlatform and Enterprise Workload Manager to the i5 520 and 570 servers Tuesday.

Like other i5 systems, the 550 can be purchased with more processors installed than are turned on. Called "Capacity On Demand" by IBM, the pricing model lets customers purchase a four-way 550, for instance, but pay for only two of the CPUs initially. When demand increases, the remaining Power 5s can be enabled.

Also new to the 550 are a pair of special bundles. The Solution Edition is a specially-priced server available when certain IBM partners' software is also purchased. Among the vendors that supply eligible software are PeopleSoft, Clear Technologies, and Lawson Software.

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