IBM Power Systems Buyer's Guide

By Drew Robb (Send Email)
Posted Nov 5, 2010


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It isn't easy selling non-x86 equipment these days. According to IDC, that side of the server market has had five quarters in a row of decline -- while at the same time the x86 segment is picking up. On the IBM side, sales weren't helped by the fact that users were waiting for a new line of products.

IBM's release of the Power7 processor and a corresponding refresh of Power-based servers earlier this year has steadily breathed new life into what some believed was a stagnant product family. If you're in the market for a Unix server, here's what Big Blue has to offer.

"IBM experienced weakness in its Power Systems and System z servers as customers waited for the completion of a product refresh cycle for both product sets," said IDC analyst Jean Bozman.

The release of the Power7 processor this year was accompanied by a new line of Power servers, which are broken out in the table at the end of this article. Now that these are on the market, IBM Power sales should pick up.

But another factor may have been influencing sales. Two years ago, IBM brought its System i and p product lines under the IBM Power Systems umbrella. That may have confused some users. However according to Jeff Howard, director of marketing of IBM Power Systems, regardless of these factors, the company has been winning out in this space over the competition.

He cites IDC figures that show IBM extending its lead in the $14 billion UNIX market with a 42.8 percent share that grew share by 1.9 points in the second quarter of 2010. Sun was next at 26.7 percent, followed by HP at 25.2 percent. While IBM has upped its piece of the UNIX pie by 13 percent in the past five years, HP and Sun have both lost ground. This, said Howard, is largely due to the success of the IBM Migration Factory established in 2006. In the second quarter alone, that included 150 from Oracle/Sun and x86 servers from HP.

"IBM is committed to the AIX, i and Linux platforms on Power," said Howard. "Earlier this year, IBM introduced i operating system version 7.1, and a new version of AIX."

Page 2: Power Refresh

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