IBM stretches x440 server to the low end

IBM is giving smaller companies some room to grow with two new Intel-based servers scheduled to begin shipping at the end of this month.

The systems are smaller configurations of its eight-processor x440 server. They will be available with two or four processors and use Intel Corp.'s 2.4-GHz Xeon processor, which is less expensive than the Xeon MP chips used in the larger system. This makes the systems more affordable for small and medium-size businesses, IBM said yesterday.

Users can upgrade their servers, however, by moving to the Xeon MP chips if they see a need for more horsepower, said Jay Bretzmann, director of xSeries server product marketing at IBM.

For example, a user can purchase a four-way x440 system now and expand the server to eight processors later by switching the chips for Xeon MP processors, and without needing to purchase a new chassis, Bretzmann said. Companies with growing businesses or infrastructure providers might take advantage of the feature after owning their system for some time, he said.

"It's not something you would do in short order," Bretzmann said.

The new x440s will take up 4U (7 in.) of rack space and start at US $20,499, including two processors and 2GB of memory but with no hard disk drives or operating system. IBM will support Microsoft Corp.'s Windows 2000 Datacenter Server, Red Hat Inc.'s Linux Advanced Server and SuSE Linux AG's Linux 8.0 operating systems.

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