IBM rolls out low-end Unix box

IBM is expanding the low end of its portfolio of servers based on the Power5 processor with a system aimed at customers looking for compact, low-cost Unix systems for branch offices and retail locations.

The IBM eServer p5 510 is Big Blue's first Unix server with a starting price below US$4,000, says Jeff Howard, program director of IBM eServer pSeries offerings. The p5 510 Express, aimed at small and midsize companies, starts at US$3,967 for a single 1.5-GHz Power5 processor and 512M bytes of memory. It will ship next week.

The standard p5 510 also will ship next week, with one or two 1.65-GHz Power5 processors or a single 1.5-GHz processor and up to 32G bytes of memory. A two-way 1.5-GHz system will be available in April. The standard p5 510 starts at just under US$5,000, Howard says.

With the p5 510 and the p5 510 Express, IBM is aiming at the high-volume low end of the Unix market, where it has not had a presence in the last couple of years, Howard says. The servers are designed to compete with similar offerings from Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard Co.

"This will be our sixth Power5-based server that starts under US$10,000, all of which have been announced since July of last year," says Howard.

The servers run AIX versions 5.2 and 5.3, as well as Linux, and include a three-year warranty. The servers can take advantage of IBM virtualization technology such as Big Blue's Virtualization Engine and micro-partitioning so that AIX and Linux can be run side by side in partitions on the server.

"This gives (customers) a p5 server with all the Power5 advantages of performance, flexibility and virtualization at a price point starting at under US$4,000 and in a 2U very dense form factor," Howard says.

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