Hardware Today: IBM Server Snapshot
The past year was a big one for IBM servers. The company completed a major overhaul of the four server lines that fall under its eServer moniker: iSeries midrange servers targeted at the SMB and departmental markets; the pSeries Unix-based servers aimed at the data center market; the Intel-based xSeries servers; and the mainframe-class zSeries servers. It also brought a new addition to the mix, the OpenPower range of Linux servers.In an effort to meet desired utilization rates and consolidation concerns, IBM's latest additions to its eServer product family are POWER5-based offerings sporting Virtualization Engine technology.
The primary improvements to the eServer offerings involve the introduction of the POWER5 processor (p5) and the IBM Virtualization Engine. The success of these changes is demonstrated in the numbers. According to IDC, in 2004, IBM cemented its position as the No. 1 server vendor worldwide, with a 31.7 percent market share.
Recent Server Snapshots|
"The trend now is to standardize and rationalize IT operations in order to get more bang out of the bucks already spent and the bucks that will be spent in the future," said Dan Olds, principal of Gabriel Consulting Group. "IBM is responding to this trend correctly by building mechanisms that allow customers to more easily manage a greater number of applications running on a smaller number of systems with fewer people."
This appears to be part of a major shift in emphasis from server technology to server economics. Until fairly recently, servers were sold primarily on the basis of speed and overall performance. Application developers used the extra juice to eke more mileage out of their software, and enterprises had to buy the latest boxes to stay current. Today, few applications struggle on modern large-scale systems. Hence, performance as the key to server sales is rapidly losing relevance. In its place is growing concern with utilization rates and consolidation. And that's where IBM is going with the pairing of p5 and Virtualization Engine.
The chart below provides an overview of IBM's eServer products.
|Description||Midrange servers||Unix servers||Intel processor-based servers||Mainframe-class servers||Servers tuned for Linux|
|Target Deployment||SMBs and enterprise departments||Data centers of all sizes||Scale-up and scale-out x86 users||Large and midsize enterprises running mission-critical applications||SMBs and budget-conscious enterprises|
|Processor Type||POWER4, POWER5||POWER4, POWER5, JS20: PowerPC 970||P4, Xeon, Itanium-2||16-chip IBM Multichip Module (MCM) Multiple-channel subsystem (MCSS) allows logical partitions (LPARs) which can run different operating systems||POWER5|
|Processor Range||Small to Medium: 1- to 2-way; Medium to Large: 6- to 64-way||Entry: 1- to 4-way; Midrange: 2- to 16-way; High-End: 32- to 64-way||Rack-Optimized: 1- to 4-way; Tower: 1- to 4-way; High-Performance scalable: 4- to 16-way||2 to 4 logical channel subsystems||Rackmount or desk-side 1- to 4-way|
|Operating Systems||i5 (V5R3), OS/400 V5R2, Windows, Linux, AIX-5L||AIX-5L, Linux||Windows, Linux, AIX, MVS, all x86-compatible operating systems||z/OS, z/OS.e, OS/390, Linux on zSeries, z/VM, TPF, VSE/ESA||Linux|
|Servers|| Small to Medium:
Medium to Large:
i5 595 1
p5 550 2
High Performance Computing:
Commercial Blue Gene 7
|Price Range 6||Small to Medium: Starts at $24,281 Medium to Large: Starts at $574,224||Entry: Starts at $3,967 Midrange: Starts at $24,927 High-End: Contact IBM||Rack-optimized: Starts at $1,159 Tower: Starts at $499 High-Performance scalable: Contact IBM||z890: Starts at less than $200,000 Others: Contact IBM||710: Starts at $4,713.00 720: Starts at $ 5,000|
1 New i5 systems are part of the iSeries line despite the slightly different nomenclature. Because it is an integrated system, all iSeries prices include operating system and database, IBM i5/OS, and IBM DB2 UDB.
2 New p5 systems are part of the pSeries line despite the slightly different nomenclature. The pSeries line also includes a JS20, 2-way PowerPC 970 BladeCenter system.
3 The xSeries line includes the BladeCenter product family: HS20, a 2-way Intel blade, HS40, a 4-way Intel blade, and the BladeCenter T (Telecom Chassis), as well as a variety of storage products and telecommunications servers, and the IBM Cluster 1350. IBM's Opteron offering, the eServer 325, is also officially sold out of its xSeries line.
4 The 445 replaces the 440.
5 The zSeries line also includes the S/390 G5/G6 and S/390 Multiprise, which are no longer sold but are still supported.
6 Based on IBM's posted prices.
7 Commercial Blue Gene runs PowerPC 970 processors and is 5.7 teraflops. Contact IBM for pricing.