RealTime IT News

IBM Adds Low-end Server to Power5 Line

IBM unveiled a new eServer Power5 system for less than $5,000, an offering for customers that use Unix systems to power their small-and medium-sized businesses,

Like every pSeries server Big Blue has released since summer 2004, the p5 510 is based on the Armonk, N.Y., company's 64-bit Power5 architecture, which includes virtualization technology adapted from the company's mainframe line. It is thin, only 2U (1U = 1.75 inches) wide.

The company's Virtulization Engine software allows each Power5 processor to run 10 virtual servers at once and enables micro-partitioning, which allows clients to run several Unix and Linux servers on one system.

Available next week in rack form with one or two processors, the p5 510 runs AIX 5L v5.3, the latest version of IBM's operating system. The server also supports Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and Red Hat Enterprise Linux AS 3, consistent with the vendor's commitment to open source, said Jeff Howard, program director for IBM pSeries.

The pricing of the server is aggressive considering the technology in the machine, designed to take on boxes from rivals HP and Sun Microsystems in the two-way Unix market, which IDC said is a $2 billion market.

The new p5 510 then, officially fills out IBM's Power5 portfolio, adding the low-end ingredient to the company's mid-range and high-end machines.

"We've been doing pretty well in taking mid-range and high-end market share from Sun and HP in the last year and we thought there is a lot of room to take share at the low-end," Howard said, declining to say what IBM has in store for the Power5 line and the forthcoming Power6 architecture.

The p5 510 start at $4,867, minus an operating system. The machine includes the 1.65 gigahertz Power5 processor, 512 megabytes of memory, along with a first-ever three-year warranty. Most P5 system warranties run one year.

Howard said the p5 510 is also being offered as an express version targeted for SMBs that are more cost conscious. Express version of p5 510 costs $3,967 to start for a one-processor machine running 1.5 GHz Power5 chips.

IBM officially embarked on its Power5 mission in July 2004, unveiling midrange to high-end p5 systems for companies running complex applications in retail, financial services and healthcare organizations industries.

At the time, Big Blue officials said they believed the Unix market would be a $21 billion market opportunity, which is why the company is so intent on focusing most of its server efforts on Unix. IBM admittedly has ground to make up. Just four years ago, it garnered a 15 percent share of the Unix market, compared to 30 percent each by HP and Sun, according to IDC.

But Big Blue's steady rollout of Power5 products since July signals it is serious in securing more market share in the lucrative Unix space.

In October, the vendor rolled out its most powerful Unix servers to date, a p5 595 and i5 595 capable of running 254 virtual servers on one machine.