IBM Announces New P5 Servers That Run Linux

IBM is putting rivals Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems on notice with the announcement of two new p5 servers capable of running Linux and Unix and allowing users to run 254 virtual servers on each machine.

“HP and Sun should be concerned about IBM’s p5 because the price of the machines are relatively low and the performance is very high,” Bill Claybrook, president of New River Marketing Research, told LinuxInsider. “HP and Sun will scramble to compete, but I don’t think either of them can compete with IBM on the high end any time soon.”

The up to 64-way eServer p5 595 takes its position as the new flagship of the product line with nearly three times the commercial performance and twice the capacity of its predecessor. The up to 32-way 590 offers enterprise-class function and more performance than its predecessor at a lower price.

Most Advanced Microprocessor

Both systems are powered by IBM’s most advanced 64-bit Power Architecturemicroprocessor, IBM Power5, with simultaneous multi-threading. According to the company, this makes each processor look like two to the operating system, and increases commercial performance and system utilization over servers without this capability.

The p5-595 features a choice of IBM’s fastest POWER5 processors running at 1.90 GHz or 1.65 GHz, while the p5-590 offers 1.65 GHz processors.

The new servers also come with IBM Virtualization Engine systems technologywith new innovations like Micro-Partitioning to allow 10 virtual servers on a single Power5 chip. The company said the innovation opens the door for cost-saving consolidation opportunities.

Top Ranking

Big Blue won top ranking in the server market in Gartner’s August report with a market share that increased to 30.7 percent in the second quarter of 2004. However, HP led in the volume category, shipping 463,489 units for a 38.4 percent year-over-year increase.

“We’ll find that Sun will have trouble competing against this, even with its Ultra Spark,” Claybrook said. “I don’t see HP’s Itanium 2 ever competing with the p5. IBM has strong technology here and not much competition on the high end.”

IBM will release the new machines on November 19. Base configuration for an 8-to 16-way eServer p5 is $603,000. Thirty-two and 64-way machines start at $1.4 million.

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