IBM is aiming to give users a simpler way to beef up their e-commerce and data centers with appliance servers designed to do Web hosting, storage, and run Lotus Domino applications.
IBM last week announced five IBM eServer appliances observers say are aimed at data and e-commerce shops where customers often need to add servers quickly to meet peak demand.
The appliance servers require less time and effort to install than general-purpose servers because they have already been configured for specific jobs, says Brad Day, an analyst at Giga Information Group, in Cambridge, Mass.
The five servers from IBM include:
The IBM eServer xSeries 130, which is designed to run the Microsoft Windows operating system, and the IBM eServer xSeries 135, which runs Linux. Both servers are Web-hosting appliance servers aimed at e-commerce data centers;The IBM eServer xSeries 150, which is a storage appliance, featuring up to 1.7T Bytes of capacity and throughput of up to 44M Bytes/sec; The IBM eServer iSeries 400 model 270, designed to run Lotus Domino, and the model 820, which features IBM's new Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) chip technology that allows for faster processing on smaller processors and partitioning.
IBM isn't the only vendor jumping into the appliance server market, which is growing to meet demand for servers that can be popped into the network with little effort. According to IDC, the market for appliance servers will grow from US$740 in 1999 to $15 billion in 2004.
Sun recently jumped into the market, announcing at the end of September it would purchase appliance maker Cobalt for about $2 billion. Dell announced this spring it would offer appliance servers that run Linux, Windows NT, and Novell's cache software. Compaq also offers appliance servers branded the NeoServer, which runs SCO Unix. Compaq's offering is designed to be an Internet appliance that can link to service providers with little maintenance and setup work.
IVM's x130 and x135 appliance servers are both designed with e-commerce and data center space constraints in mind at 1.75 inches high. They also feature hot-swap hard disk drives and ship with integrated system management. The x130 also includes IBM Web Server Accelerator software, allowing it to cache static content in memory, speeding response time for content requests from surfers. The x135 includes the IBM HTTP Server power software by APACHE middleware. The x150 storage appliance server is aimed workgroups and supports Active Directory and DFS platforms. It can provide storage for systems supporting CIFS, HTTP, and NFS file formats.
The entry-level iSeries 400 model 270 Appliance Server for Domino is available as arack-mount or tower in either single or dual processor configurations, both support more than 5,000 Domino Mail and Calendaring users. Users that require larger Domino applications can use the model 820 that features single, dual, and four-way processor configurations. It is capable of supporting up to 10,000 Mail and calendaring users. Logical partitioning capabilities of the iSeries appliance server for Domino allow multiple virtual Domino servers to run inside a single iSeries 400 server.
Scheduled to ship Dec. 15 xSeries appliance pricing starts at about $US4,000.