IBM wants to shrink the Linux server installed base

IBM says there are too many Linux servers running in enterprise data centers

IBM says the 1.6 million stand-alone Linux servers running in enterprise data centers is too many. It's not Linux IBM has a thing against; it's the physical server hardware running the operating system.

To slim down Linux hardware deployments, IBM recently introduced a powerful Linux server - System p5 560Q. The device is the company's latest server virtualization workhorse, which IBM says can squeeze 320 stand-alone x86 Linux servers into a rack of p5 560Qs.

The device is based on IBM's POWER5+, a 64-bit, RISC-based processor technology. Dual Gigabit Ethernet cards, up to 128GBytes of memory and up to 16 1.5 GHz processors are some of the hardware specifications that allow the server to pack in so may virtualized Linux host images. The machine also comes with virtualization tools for allocating logical partitions for virtual Linux machines, allocating processor and memory resources to virtual machines, and even configuring the servers in Ethernet VLANs inside the box.

For lower-scale Linux server consolidation, IBM introduced the BladeCenter JS21 chassis, which can house up to 168 x86 Linux servers in the 14-slot enclosure. The chassis also hosts POWER-based processors blades. This product also uses IBM's Advanced Power Virtualization feature for allocating physical resources to Linux images running inside the chassis.

For companies that only want to consolidate a dozen or so servers, IBM is offering up the p5 505Q - smaller sibling of the 16-processor 560Q behemoth. This box can consolidate up to 12 x86 Linux servers into one machine, which houses a single quad-core POWER processing blade.

The p5 560Q, JS21 and P5 505Q - announced at the LinuxWorld OpenSolutions Summit last week - are priced at $38,835, $3,717 and $5,505. All three are available now.

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