1999 Product of the Year: Network Hardware

IBM Corp. RS/6000 Enterprise Server S80

IN THIS ERA of around-the-clock business, companies cannot tolerate downtime.

Customers and internal users expect blazing speed and no noticeable downtime, and IT must deliver on those demands. In that spirit, the enormous IBM RS/6000 Enterprise Server S80 is an excellent choice.

As applications and data continue to grow, high throughput and capacity are becoming a necessity. Businesses that depend on providing world-class customer service and need servers that live up to demanding requirements should turn to the RS/6000 S80. As the only lab that received a unit for in-house testing, we pounded this machine. Its combination of power, flexibility, and fault tolerance earned it a Product of the Year award.

The RS/6000 S80 delivers amazing performance and reliability at a price point not much more than high-end Wintel servers. Its extensive diagnostic and recovery features provide quick troubleshooting and recovery in case a part of the system fails.

If you're looking for a serious amount of power, reliability, and heat for a surprisingly reasonable price, the RS/6000 S80 is the way to go. The unit we looked at was the size of two refrigerators, but if you need more than 870GB of data, you can always add extra I/O cabinets -- as much as 45 terabytes of storage. With 24 PowerPC processors, as many as 48 RAID-based disks, and redundant power supplies and I/O interconnections, this is a server for high availability and hard work, 24 hours a day.

As Intel-based servers continue to climb the evolutionary tree, it's good to see that the venerable RS/6000 S80 isn't sitting still; it adds support for more storage, faster I/O, and more (and faster) processors than its predecessors. By using many off-the-shelf parts, IBM has also managed to keep the price down to $250,000. This may seem expensive, but for the amount of horsepower and reliability in this box, it's a bargain -- that's 1,800 pounds at only $138 a pound.

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