IBM Ships New eServer

IBM Wednesday began shipping its long-awaited IBM eServer x440. IBM's new x440 uses up to 16 Intel Xeon MP processors, 8 GB of memory, and two 18 GB hard drives. HP and Sun are unimpressed.

Retailing for just over $81,000, the x440 runs on up to 16 of Intel's older Foster Xeon MP processors, 8 GB of memory, and two 18GB hard drives.

Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM said its "building-block"-style called XpandonDemand lets customers pay for computing power incrementally as they need it, beginning with four processors and expanding up to 16 processors and 64 GB of memory.

The eServer x440 may run any combination of Microsoft Windows and Linux operating systems within a single SMP configuration, including up to four physical partitions or up to 64 virtual partitions. EServers come with IBM's "Project eLiza" self-healing technology, which keeps systems running through failures. It also performs management tasks, such as Real Time Diagnostics, Software Rejuvenation and Chipkill technology to help predict and repair potential problems without taking the server off line or shutting it down.

The server begins life without an operating system, but IBM has said it would put one in if a customer requested it.

IBM said it is the only major vendor to offer customers a 16-way server based on the Intel Xeon processor MP in a compact, 14-inch high system, while Dell and HP have yet to make generally available eight-way systems based on this processor.

But even as Big Blue tooted its own horn, rivals Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems replied with some of their own trash talking.

"HP strongly believes that beyond eight processors, for customers to achieve price and performance scalability, servers require Itanium (IPF) technology," the company released in a statement. "Furthermore, HP has no intention of producing Xeon-based servers over eight processors, specifically 16-ways."

"With IBM's various operating systems, IT professionals are faced with added costs from software migration, additional OS training and licensing fees in the Windows environment. If Windows 2000 Data center and 16-way VMware are the only operating systems available for the x440, customers should know that Windows 2000 Data center at 16-processors is priced at $65,999 with a yearly charge of $22,159 for updates, upgrades and patches for the software alone.

But despite the saber rattling, IBM said it grew revenue nearly three times faster than Dell in Intel processor-based servers in the third quarter of this year compared with the third quarter of last year and also outpaced HP in revenue growth, according to industry analyst IDC's Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker.

IBM also said it has also surpassed HP as the revenue leader in eight-way Intel processor-based servers in the third quarter of this year, gaining more than 26 points in the third quarter compared to the third quarter of last year, according to the same IDC data.

This article was originally published on Dec 19, 2002
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