IBM goes after web, ERP markets with RS/6000s

IBM accelerated its drive toward the Web and enterprise resource planning (ERP) server markets by rolling out two four-way RS/6000 servers, including a clustered, prepackaged model that company officials claim has less than 6 minutes of downtime per year.

Being billed as the company's lowest-cost clustered system, the HA-H70 is centered around the 340MHz version of IBM's 64-bit RS64-II processor. The system will optionally include pretested ERP and groupware applications from several software makers, including Baan, Candle, Lotus, Oracle, PeopleSoft, SAP, and Tivoli.

IBM officials said they hope the packaged clustered system makes it easier for users to set it up. They also said it offers users higher availability for ERP and critical Web serving applications, so users will have more time to focus on developing their business.

"We made commitments starting last year to the ERP market making Baan and later SAP's applications available," said Mike Maas, manager of enterprise servers for IBM's RS/6000 division. "With this announcement, we think we are taking that commitment a major step forward."

IBM also announced that its other new server, the H70, will be added to the ERP Solution Series for Oracle applications. This means that first-time users of Oracle software with the RS/6000 can enroll in a no-charge protection plan.

The two-year workload protection plan guarantees the RS/6000 will meet agreed-upon ERP workloads, or IBM will upgrade that system's processor and memory at no cost, IBM officials said.

In addition to the RS64-II processor, the base configuration of the H70 -- the successor to 1998's H50 -- includes 128MB of memory, a 4MB Level 2 (L2) cache, an integrated 10/100Base-T Ethernet adapter, and the 4.3.2 version of the AIX operating system.

Company officials said they will reduce the price of the existing H50 systems by as much as 20 percent.

Some users appeared pleased with the performance of the H70 when used to anchor Web or electronic-commerce applications.

"We bought three H70s to expand our Internet infrastructure. We did so because we have used the H50 servers since they were introduced and are pleased with their performance," said Jack Reynolds, president of Quik International, one of the world's largest Internet service franchisers.

Also containing an integrated 10/100Base-T Ethernet and integrated Ultra SCSI and L2 cache, the H70 can run both 32-bit and 64-bit applications simultaneously without needing to reboot the operating system. This capability offers more flexibility in application scheduling, company officials noted.

Pricing for the H70 starts at $US26,900. The HA-H70 clustered is priced at $111,920. Both will be available on April 23.

The total package

The following is a breakdown of the Oracle/IBM ERP solution bundle, available through business partners beginning April 6.

-- Six standard configuration packages for 50 to 250 users-- Oracle database-- IBM RS/6000 F50, H 70, or S70-- IBM AIX 4.3.2-- Optional features: High Availability Clustered Multiprocessing, Tivoli TME

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