Four More i5s From IBM

IBM is broadening its iSeries line, rolling out four
flavors of a new mid-range server that scales from one to four Power5

The new eServer i550 is intended to fit between the company’s
previous i5 machines, the i520 and i570, which were unveiled in

The i520 is a one- to two-processor box. While the i570 was originally
offered as a one- to four-processor machine, IBM scaled it to 16 in July.

The 16-way machine put the i570 into a larger enterprise bracket, so IBM
decided to craft a special mid-range server with four customized editions,
according to IBM iSeries Product Marketing Manager Craig Johnson. The move
is part of IBM’s ambitious Power5 server strategy to garner more market
share and best rivals HP, Dell and Sun Microsystems.

The i550 comes with the company’s vaunted
Virtualization Engine, software that combines components from IBM’s Tivoli
provisioning tools, WebSphere Grid capability and IBM Director
Multi-Platform for a utility computing model.

With it, administrators can partition operating systems like a mainframe
running as many as 10 servers per microprocessor. The i550 runs the i5 O5,
as well as IBM’s own AIX, Linux, and Windows software — all on one box. IBM
considers virtualization a springboard in its company-wide e-business
on-demand strategy to give customers more computing flexibility.

The company’s capacity upgrade on-demand feature allows customers to “turn
on” more processors in the case of traffic spikes or projects that require
more power.

Unlike the i520 and the i570, there are four editions of the i550. The
enterprise edition is loaded with IBM’s software, including symmetric
multiprocessing for IBM’s DB2 database and starts at $266,000. The standard
edition is $74,000.

Johnson told the offerings really get differentiated
with the “solution” and Domino editions. At $206,000, the solution edition
offered in conjunction with IBM’s independent software vendors and is
tailored specifically to customers’ needs. The Domino edition features Lotus
collaboration software and costs $56,000.

The new i5 editions will be available for purchase September 10.

Johnson also said IBM has spruced up its Virtualization Engine software,
offering the i5s for the first time with IBM Director MultiPlatform and
Enterprise Workload Manager.

Director, software that had previously only been offered on the company’s
xSeries machines, allows IT managers to manage and monitor a machine’s
operating system. Workload Manager provides performance management, allowing
managers to set goals for application response time.

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