IBM Bolsters PC Server Line

SAN MATEO (03/10/2000) - MAKING GOOD on promises to cascade key proprietary hardware technologies down to its PC-based servers, IBM Corp. next week will roll out two 4-way symmetric multiprocessing servers containing some of the features it hopes will give the servers a strong performance advantage in running Windows 2000 Server.

The Netfinity 7600 and 7100 systems will feature technology for recovering from 8-bit memory failures, reputedly as much as 100 times more reliable than existing ECC (error-correcting code) memory. The systems also feature Active PCI, which allows the operating system to automatically configure a network card, a dedicated services processor, and a Power Fuel Gauge that alerts IT administrators when overall system resources are being overtaxed.

The company hopes these features, all part of its X Architecture blueprint, will add some muscle to Netfinity's chances to grab market share away from several competitors in the hotter e-business applications segments, most notably Sun Microsystems.

"We think Windows 2000 Data Center is more reliable and scalable than previous versions. So we have tried to match up these new capabilities with those in our X Architecture," said Tom Bradicich, director of Netfinity architecture and design, in Raleigh, N.C.

But for IBM to grab market share from Sun, Microsoft will have to hold up its software end of the bargain in the cooperative effort with IBM and other OEMs bundling Windows 2000.

"IBM has some good technologies here, but it is not just an IBM proposition.

Microsoft needs to legitimize Windows 2000 with good performance on these various OEM platforms," said John Dunkle, president of Workgroup Strategic, a consultancy in Portsmouth, N.H.

The new systems are powered by four Pentium III Xeon 550-MHz chips with either a 1MB or 2MB cache. They can support up to 16GB of memory, feature IBM's Lightpath diagnostics, and have three redundant hot-swap power supplies.

Pricing for the systems starts at $9,943.

IBM, in Armonk, N.Y., can be reached at www.ibm.com.

IBM beefs up servers

Netfinity offers the following updates.

* Netfinity FastT500 Raid Controller Unit, a fibre-to-fibre interface* 2-way Netfinity 4000R now running 650-and 750-MHz Pentium III chips* Netfinity 5600 2-way server for small and midsize businessSource: IBM Corp.

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