IBM to Reveal Pentium III-Based Netfinity Server

IBM Corp. will hop on board the Pentium III bandwagon next week when it rolls out the latest member of its Netfinity server line, a four-way symmetric multiprocessing (SMP) system expected to be priced around US$8,500.

Separately, IBM officials said they will formally introduce their eight-way SMP system by the end of the second quarter with delivery expected sometime in the third.

"With the (upcoming) Profusion chip set, the Pentium III arriving, Windows 2000 on the horizon, and Fibre Channel technology dropping in price, we think the market for eight-way (SMP systems) is about to really take off among larger accounts,'' said Jim Gargan, IBM's program director for the Netfinity servers.

First up, however, will be the new four-way M20. The system sports many of the features and capabilities of the company's X Architecture including its Light Path Diagnostics, Hot Plug PCI support, integrated RAID technology, an integrated systems management processor and Hot Add In, the capability to add a card into an empty slot without bringing down the system.

"The message with this system is we are committed to pushing the Netfinity line higher up into the enterprise than ever before,'' Gargan said.

The server's internal design features a metal casing, called the Shuttle, that contains the processor card complex, system memory, and several other components including the voltage regulator. The unit slides in and out, making it much easier for administrators to upgrade and configure the system.

The system can also be daisy-chained to other Netfinity servers which can all be managed from one server via the unit's integrated systems management chip, company officials said.

The M20 is also rack mountable and, because of its design, this can be done in 20 seconds or less. It also features an additional bay at the bottom of the unit where administrators can add another three processors or add-in other equipment including tape drives, additional hard drives, and uninterruptible power supplies.

Capable of supporting up to 235 desktop systems, the M20 will come bundled with Lotus Domino and the company's Internet Starter Pack. It will also feature IBM's Web Acceleration software, which company officials claim improves Internet performance for electronic commerce applications on average by 20 to 30 percent.

The M20 is expected to be available by the end of next week.

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