IBM, Microsoft Unveil Server Cluster

BM Corp., Microsoft Corp. and Intel Corp. have jointly announced a server cluster software and hardware package touted as the world's fastest -- and cheaper than their competition.

The server cluster performs 440,879 transactions per minute in a configuration that includes 32 IBM Netfinity 8500R machines and Intel Pentium III Xeon processors running IBM's DB2 Universal Database and Microsoft Windows 2000 Advanced Server operating system, according to the companies' statement.

The package is targeted at data-intensive applications, especially those in the business-to-business (B2B), electronic commerce and enterprise resource planning areas, the companies said.

"It's extremely robust and will continue to scale," said William Hurley, a program manager at the IT analysis firm Yankee Group Inc. "It will allow data mining to become more sophisticated."

IBM is challenging Sun Microsystems Inc. and Hewlett-Packard Co. in the server market, having released a new midrange Unix server in May. IBM and Oracle Corp. compete closely in the growing database business. According to a study by Dataquest Inc. released in May, Oracle holds 31.1 percent of the database software market, compared to 29.9 percent for IBM.

"I think they're trying to differentiate themselves from Oracle. I know that Oracle does have the upper hand," Hurley said. "Only time will tell, over the next few quarters, if they can cut into their market share."