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IBM Raises the Bar for Clustering

By Clint Boulton (Send Email)
Posted Sep 11, 2000


IBM Corp. (NYSE:IBM) continued its hot hand of wheeling and dealing with today's release of the world's most powerful Unix cluster system dedicated to Web-based commerce. Big Blue drops the "Blue Hammer" clustering system on e-commerce.

Dubbed "Blue Hammer," IBM hopes the amped cluster will usher in a new era of manageability for commercial Unix systems, using IBM's Parallel System Support Programs (PSSP) -- management software first developed for the RS/6000 SP supercomputer -- to cluster up to 16 ultra-powerful S80s that can scale to 384 copper microprocessors.

Translation: This will save e-commerce sites a great deal of time in processing functions.

The cluster is convenient because it uses the PSSP software to provide system administrators with a single point of control so they can configure all of the servers in one shot.

What's more, the revamped S80 cluster was designed to scale higher than ever -- from two 12-way systems up to sixteen 24-way systems, enabling customers to add servers and manage them as demand soars.

The S80 cluster is available immediately, but the product does not come cheap. The basic configuration for the high-end server begins at $705,000. IBM also plans to expand the S80 cluster solution to include its 80-class Unix midrange servers -- the M80 and H80 -- by the end of the second quarter of 2001.

Big Blue did not stop with the announcement of the release of its super cluster Monday. The company also released its new thin ThinkPad X series. The new line of notebook computers are less than 1 inch (2.5 cm) thick and weigh as little as 3.1 pounds (1.4 kg). The ThinkPad X series is geared toward mobile professionals looking for as lightweight a notebook as possible. They are available immediately and start at $2,199.

The firm made another e-commerce play by partnering with Works.com to offer its products to the online purchasing service's 2.9 million business clients. This includes the aforementioned ThinkPad notebook series, PCs, monitors and printers, all to be sold on the Works.com Marketplace.

As if Big Blue's product releases and technology partnerships are not high-profile enough, the top dog of B2B e-commerce research publications BtoB, said Monday that the titan aced a perfect score in the list of about 700 sites considered, edging out FedEx and Merrill Lynch.

Fields of study for this research include "ease of use," "good navigation," "e-commerce enabled" and "great organization."

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