IBM takes steps to promote iSeries servers

IBM Corp. announced further steps this week to promote its iSeries family of midrange servers, which the company is pitching to users as a system that can be used to consolidate smaller servers as a way of reducing management efforts.

IBM said it planned to slash the base price of the i820 iSeries server by 63 percent for its certified sales partners. It will also provide them with software for the servers worth about US$57,000, including Lotus Software Group's Domino iNotes and its own WebSphere product, said Buell Duncan, general manager of IBM's iSeries servers group, during a presentation at IBM's PartnerWorld event here this week.

The sales partners would end up paying about $89,000 for a typical entry-level configuration of the i820, according to an IBM spokesman. The lower prices won't necessarily be passed on to customers, however, an IBM spokesman said. Rather, the discount is designed to encourage IBM's sales partners to familiarize themselves with the i820 in the hope that they will push the server to customers.

IBM also revealed this week that it will spend $300 million this year in marketing and development efforts for its iSeries line. This will include road-shows throughout the U.S. intended to educate customers about the iSeries servers, Duncan said.

Big Blue has positioned the iSeries family as a platform of choice for customers looking to consolidate Windows or Linux applications onto a single server instead of running them across multiple machines.

Many of the iSeries servers run a version of IBM's OS/400 operating system that can be sliced into as many as 32 Linux or Windows partitions. The technology is intended to let customers put software such as mail servers, proxy servers and even databases onto one physical server. Consolidating software onto a single server can help ease the burden of managing systems, according to IBM.

IBM also plans to begin using its Power4 processor in the iSeries servers in the second half of this year, another spokesman at the company said. The Power4 is currently used in IBM's top-of-the-line p690 Unix server.

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