IBM adds Power 4 chip to WebSphere

Hoping to entice those corporate users looking to scale their Intel-based Linux strategies upward, IBM on Wednesday unveiled the first Linux-based version of its WebSphere Application Server that takes full advantage of its Power 4 chip.

The 5.0.2 version of WebSphere, capable of running on both IBM's pSeries and iSeries servers, comes in three configurations and will be targeted at a range of different corporate markets including banking, retailing, and manufacturing. Along with the new version IBM also announced a new financing plan which allows users who buy WebSphere and other selected pieces of software to defer payments until 2004.

"We see this combination as giving corporate users significantly increased options in terms of scalability compared to Windows on Intel-based systems. We have done some work here to optimize (Linux and WebSphere) for the 64-bit Power architecture," said Bob Sutor, IBM's director of WebSphere infrastructure Software in Somers, N.Y.

Sutor believes the new combination will also strengthen its ongoing Java strategies because any and all application development already done under WebSphere on lower-end platforms can be compatibly carried forward to higher and more powerful environments.

"Because WebSphere applications are typically written in Java, this means that a department that has started developing an application on an Intel-based platform can grow them as necessary up to the Power 4 environments to what fits their application needs," Sutor said.

With IBM's hypervisor technology built into the hardware-software bundle, IBM officials believe corporate users have more server-based applications flexibility in configuring their Linux-based servers system compared with some of its competitors.

"The pSeries can support 64-bit Linux servers up to an 8-way Power 4 configuration, and with hypervisor you can support it as a single 8-way image, or run the 8-way system as two 4-way systems, or run Linux in a partition without AIX present," said Scott Handy, IBM's director of Linux software solutions in Somers, N.Y.

The Linux-based version of WebSphere for the Power 4 comes on the heels of versions of Tivoli and DB2 for those platforms quietly delivered in April and May of this year respectively.

WebSphere Application Server 5.0.2 will be available on July 15 for US$10,000 per processor, while the Network Deployment version, also available on July 15, sells for $15,000 per processor. The Enterprise version ships on July 25 and costs $30,000 per processor.

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