IBM iSeries Changes For The Small Set

IBM today said it has made its i5 server line for small- and medium-sized businesses faster, employing its 2.2 gigahertz Power5+ dual-core chip in the machines to boost performance by a third.

IBM also unveiled a new version of its iSeries operating system, i5/OS V5R4, which features better security and disaster-recovery features that help companies stay up and running in the face of outages.

The System i5 platform is an integrated business system, which means it comes prepackaged with the hardware and software needed to run the database, application servers, operating system, security and management tools and storage.

To this point, the latest models had been running the Power5 chip. The introduction of the Power5+ on iSeries models 520, 550, 570 and 595 will provide greater performance for SMB customers.

In other upgrades, the i5 now boasts a better tie-in between IBM BladeCenter and xSeries to System i5 storage through an open iSCSI connection. This will make it easier for customers to manage multiple Intel-based systems from the System i5 platform.

There is also virtual tape support to promote continuous operations by letting companies save directly to disk instead of a tape drive. Also, a new i5/OS V5R4 boot capability lets companies start the operating system directly from the IBM SAN server.

To improve security, the new i5 operating system has new auditing and intrusion-detection capabilities that let administrators scan for open TCP/IP ports.

In other improvements, the new 32-bit Java Virtual Machine in i5/OS V5R4 lets small businesses reduce memory costs required to deploy Java applications. i5/OS V5R4 also incorporates open source APACHE AXIS application programming interfaces (APIs) to improve integration between i5/OS applications and SOA Web services.

Big Blue is also offering iSeries machines with new capacity on-demand features. Now available for the first time on the i5 520 2-way model, this feature enables companies to switch-on the second processor to handle peaks in business processing.

i5 also now has a new Web-facing tool to help extend applications to browser-based users.

The enhanced System i5 machines will ship Feb. 14, with the integration of BladeCenter and System i5 available in May 2006.

The SMB space is one that IBM takes seriously as it kicks off 2006 with a pledge to gain more market share in the server space.

It’s also one in which IBM competes fiercely with Dell and HP at a time when systems vendors are trying to boost computing gear sales across the board. SMBs provide the market opportunity to do that, the companies believe.

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