Gordon Haff, an analyst with Illuminata, in
, said that while Jan. 29's
announcement lacked specific new technology from
it does show that the company is trying to consolidate its various
virtualization offerings into a single offering that makes it easier for
smaller businesses to consider.
"Basically, they are talking about some new entry-level servers and
virtualization that is targeting a small and midsized business [SMB] audience,"
Haff said. "A lot of it is rebranding, and what PowerVM allows
to do is pull all virtualization offerings under one umbrella term.
has a lot of different pieces of virtualization, and it's a complex portfolio."
System p, for example, has been considered an enterprise-class system, but IBM
has begun to reorganize its business to show that a System p server can easily
work in a smaller company as well as in a larger enterprise.
Scott Handy, vice president for worldwide marketing and strategy for
Power systems, said while part of Jan. 29's announcement was rebranding, it
also showed where
IBM is heading with
its virtualization strategy for smaller customers.
"It's new that we have split this into a whole family now," Handy said,
referring to PowerVM.
"Also new is the Lx86, and that allows all three editions [of PowerVM to]
run Linux x86 binaries, which based on our beta we are going to have pretty
good customer acceptance," Handy added. "Over time, this will become even more
significant as we roll out new virtualization technologies; we will stop
rolling out individual things you can order and just put them into one of these
three releases. So this greatly simplifies how customers acquire virtualization
technology from us."
On the hardware side,
IBM is offering two
entry-level System p servers. The p520 supports up to four Power processing
cores and offers up to 64GB of memory. The p550 can support up to eight Power
processing cores and offers 256GB of memory, which Handy said helps support a
number of virtual environments.
The virtualization software and new hardware will be available in February.
The Power6-based blade will be available in March, according to
At the beginning of the year, IBM announced that it planned to reorganize itself to better address its SMB customers. Some analysts believe that the SMB market is worth $500 billion in products and services, and IBM's new focus is to let smaller customers know that the company has their needs in mind.