IBM Readies New Servers Based on Intel MP

By Clint Boulton (Send Email)
Posted Nov 4, 2002

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Armonk, N.Y.'s IBM Monday followed up some software refreshing from a month ago with the release of new xSeries servers based on the Intel Xeon Processor MP, or Gallatin.

Primed for large business and enterprise data workloads, the servers include new models of the four-way IBM eServer x255 rack and tower system; new four-way models of the x360 rack-dense server; and new four- and eight-way models of the x440, which supports up to 16 processors. IBM Monday piggy-backed on Intel's announcement with some software refreshing of its own. Big Blue released several new xSeries servers based on the Intel Xeon Processor MP, or Gallatin.

Using the Intel Xeon processor MP 2.0GHz, IBM claims the new servers can deliver up to 20 percent more throughput than previous xSeries versions. Xeon MP would seem ready-made for the xSeries servers, as they aim for application serving, transaction processing, database management, and supply chain management.

Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff told internetnews.com the adoption of the new Intel Xeon MP is ripe with a larger cache size than the previous Intel Foster MP chip.

"The main difference is a process shrink from .18 to .13 microns," Haff said. "The original Xeon Foster MP was a step back in terms of cache size from the Pentium III Xeon -- the reason being that the transistors all took up so much room that there was not enough space left to be able to offer a 2 megabyte cache. With Gallatin, because all the features have shrunk, Intel was able to put back in a 2MB cache."

The x440 ($18,099) is the crown jewel among the celebrated xSeries line, as it features relies on what IBM calls a "building block"-style called XPandonDemand, which allows customers to pay for computing power incrementally as they need it, beginning with 4 processors and expanding up to 16 processors and 64 GB of memory.

The similarly built x360 ($7,299) packs four processors into a slender 3U system for cramped data centers, and the x255 ($6,169) is an "all-in-one" system geared for distributed computing environments.

Meanwhile, the server industry, which like all sectors IT took its lumps in 2001, is soldiering on with uncertainty, according to recent figures from Gartner Dataquest. The research firm found that the worldwide server market grew 3.1 percent in the third quarter of 2002, as units totaled 1.1 million, up from 1.07 million units in the third quarter of 2001.

However, Shahin Naftchi, senior analyst covering servers for Gartner Dataquest's Computing Platform Worldwide program, said the server market still "looks cloudy with the possibility of war in the Middle East further aggravating economic uncertainty, and continued constraints on IT spending which make it hard to be optimistic about real recovery of the worldwide server market this year."

HP remained in the top spot in the worldwide rankings with 30 percent of the market. Dell remained in the No.2 spot, while IBM placed third with 13.9 percent.

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