IBM Arms p630 Server with Power4+ Chips

IBM plans soon to
release
a new version of its pSeries 630 that is powered with its most powerful
chip
to date, the Power4+ processor.


Karl Freund, vice president, IBM eServer pSeries, claimed the addition
of
the Power+ chip would make the p630 the most powerful entry level 4-way
server on the market, with as much as three and a half times the
performance
of a comparable machine from Sun Microsystems .


The new eServer, a more powerful refresh of its inaugural
p630
machine
from last June, is a another frontal assault on Sun’s v480,
which was released a week before IBM’s first p630.


The fact that Big Blue has chosen to outdo what it already thought was
a
superior machine less than a year later demonstrates the importance IBM
places on the low-end of the Unix server market. In fact, according to
the
most recent server statistics from Gartner, Sun remains
directly
behind IBM in both worldwide and U.S. market share.


“This is a hot space in the market,” Freund told
internetnews.com.
“The more and more processor performance you can show a customer in the
4-way space the better. If you’re can show a customer how to save
money,
you’re going to earn his business.”


Freund said putting Power4+ chips on the p630 is a continuation of
IBM’s
play to offer an attractive “price/performance equation.” He said a
4-way
eServer p630 set an industry record in recent benchmark tests for entry
level systems, supporting 1,988 simultaneous connections, compared to
the
568 connections registered by the four-way Sun Fire V480.


“We’re not making the compromises Sun is making in the four-way server
class,” Freund. “They haven’t moved [since announcing the v480 in June]
and
we’re blowing them away in performance, and with our reliability
features.
This is the first product in this price range has delivered
mainframe-class
features. We’ve gone past the experimental stage with the [Power4+].”


Freund said the Sun v480 doesn’t offer logical partitioning (LPAR),
which
lets customers divide the machine into up to four “virtual” servers to
handle shifting workloads. And, he said, Sun doesn’t offer the server
with
Linux.


Clay Ryder, vicep poresident and chief operating officer at research fimr Sageza Group, said the newly amped server is nice, but may be shortlived, as things often are in the evolving server landscape.


“Yes, the P4+ should make for a screaming server, but these kinds of leapfrog leads are often shortlived,” Ryder told internetnews.com. “Nonetheless the new box is pretty impressive and is important as it demonstrates that the power architecture still has quite a bit of performance yet to come.


The p630 with Power4+ technology attracted at least one major customer — watchmaker Fossil.


“Having a Power4++ based eServer p630 system falls directly into our
long
term technology plans for acquiring the highest levels of server
performance
at the lowest possible cost,” said Ed Jurica, CIO, Fossil.


Power4+ chips are designed via the 0.13 micron fabrication process and
contains over 180 million transistors. Evenutally, it will give way to
the
next-generation Power5 chip, which was demonstrated earlier this week
at
PartnerWorld in New Orleans. IBM officials said it will be four times
faster
than the Power4 and will be available in both high- and low-end systems
by
the end of 2004.


The p630 with Power4+ runs the AIX and Linux operating systems and will be available February 28, starting at $19,025.

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