IBM rolls out servers with new chip technologies, Linux

Hoping it is the second of a one-two punch thrown at Sun Microsystems Inc. in consecutive weeks, IBM Corp. on Tuesday rolled out a new iSeries server that features the company's Silicon-on-Insulator and copper chip technologies, an improved ability to handle Linux, and speedier add-in processors board to run Windows 2000.

On the heels of last week's pSeries systems, the new S-Star copper chip-based i840 is the first system to go more than 132,000 operations per second using the standard Specjbb2000 Java server benchmark, company officials claimed. They said the server has also broken its predecessor's, Domino NotesBench's, record by handling 100,000 requests with an average response time of 67 milliseconds.

Taking a shot at Sun's recent Sunfire "mid-frames," one IBM official said Big Blue has already beat Sun to that server sweet spot and, with these announcements, is doing them one better.

"Even Sun is smart enough to know IBM put the 'mid' in mid-frames. I think most people know we delivered more mainframe class technology to small and midsize businesses," said Buell Duncan, general manager of IBM's mid-market servers, in Armonk, N.Y.

Taking a page from its mainframe book, the new i840 server has dynamic logical partitioning capabilities, which allow users to consolidate multiple systems onto a single iSeries, thereby saving money while maintaining the independence of applications.

Keeping its commitment to Linux across all four of its major hardware platforms, the company also announced the open-source operating system will now run natively on the iSeries. Users can also run Linux in a partition allowing them to better integrate their native applications with Linux applications using LPAR (Logical Partitioning).

The new system also features a number of new wireless management capabilities enabling users to use a range of different mobile devices to monitor and send commands to iSeries servers.

To better accommodate Windows-based users, IBM announced Xconnect, a slide-in adapter card aimed at midsize businesses. The product allows them to directly attach as much as 16 four-processor IBM xSeries servers to a single iSeries, thereby improving an administrator's ability to manage Windows servers.

Consequently, storage systems used by the Intel-based xSeries servers can now be better consolidated and managed by an iSeries, allowing the iSeries to act as a SAN, company officials noted.

In tandem with the adapter card, IBM also announced the xSeries Server for iSeries, an 850MHz Intel-based slide-in card designed to give smaller businesses an alternative to managing Windows-based server farms.

Armonk, New York-based IBM also announced the availability on Tuesday of its Websphere Commerce Suite V5.1, which officials said should offer a framework for customers to better create business-to-consumer and business-to-business e-commerce Web sites.

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