IBM to Tout Copper Chip-Powered Web Servers

IBM Corp. this week is expected to roll out two RS/6000 Unix servers powered by the company's newfangled copper chips and optimized to handle Web applications.

IBM says the entry-level RS/6000s are well-suited for handling Web traffic because of the high number of simultaneous Web connections they can support.

The company will target the machines at small and midsize companies looking to set up Web servers and run general-purpose applications, as well as at large companies looking to bolster their Web sites.

One of the major draws of these servers is that they will sport IBM's new copper-based Power3-II processors, which burn cooler and consume less power than most other chips, which use aluminum. The chips consume about one-third less power and run up to six times faster than the processors in the RS/6000s that the new servers will be replacing, says Tim Dougherty, an IBM business director.

This means the 44P 170 and 270 can run more applications and handle more users simultaneously. According to independent tests, the 270 can handle more than 1,300 simultaneous Web connections, which Dougherty says represents 40 percent more capacity than the server's direct competitor, the Sun Enterprise 450. He says a 270 costs about $3,000 less than a similarly configured Enterprise 450, which is priced at about $20,000.

The new servers should appeal to existing IBM users and first-time Web server buyers, but they are probably not different enough to win over existing Sun customers or users of Compaq Windows NT servers, says Andrew Allison, a consultant and industry newsletter publisher in Carmel, Calif.

The 270 can be configured with up to four 333-MHz Power3-II chips and has up to 8G bytes of error correcting code (ECC) memory and 54.6G bytes of storage. The 170 can handle one 333- or 400-MHz chip and has 2G bytes of ECC memory and 72.8G bytes of storage. The 270 costs from $17,000 to $36,000; the 170 starts at $10,500. The servers are being introduced at IBM's Partnerworld trade show in San Diego this week and will become generally available on Feb. 25.


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