IBM Adds Power5+ to More Servers

The company will roll out six new general purpose systems running on its Power5+ processor or the quad-core version of the chip, as well as two systems aimed at the high-performance computing space.

IBM is growing the number of systems running its Power5+ processor and expanding the use of its quad-core technology into new servers.

The Armonk, N.Y., company in October introduced the dual-core Power5+ chip in its low-end System p5 servers and last month brought the processor to its i5 family of systems.

On Feb. 14, IBM will unveil six new general purpose systems running on the processor or the quad-core version of the chip. The company also will introduce two systems aimed at the HPC (high-performance computing) space.

Karl Freund, vice president of IBMs pSeries systems, said Power5+ and the upcoming Power6, due later in 2007, will continue IBMs push in the high-end Unix and Linux space against competitors such as Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems.

"At 18 months and counting, Power5 has taken the market by storm," Freund said. "This shows an ever-widening gap [in performance] between IBM and its competitors."

All of the new systems will be available Feb. 24.

IBM is rolling out the p5 570, an eight-socket system, as well as the 2U (3.-5inch) p5 510 and the p5 520. In addition, IBM is offering models of the p5 510 and p5 520—named p510Q and p520Q—based on its Quad Core Module, which offers two modules each housing to processing cores.

IBM also is introducing the p5 560Q, a four-socket server than can scale up to 16 cores.

The new systems also come in Express Editions, which are preconfigured with AIX 5L—IBMs Unix variant—or Linux.

For the HPC space, IBM is rolling out the four- to eight-socket p5 575, which offers up to 100 gigaflops per node of performance and up to 256GB of memory. It also comes with an optional Rear Door Heat eXchanger, which is a water-filled device designed to cool the air coming out of the server.

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In addition, IBM is launching its IntelliStation Power 185 Express workstation for AIX and Linux environments.

The systems are designed to give users a lot of performance in reasonably priced systems, Freund said.

"Its basically trying to get more done with less," he said. "The server consolidation is continuing this year."

The Power5+ is the latest in a series of moves made by IBM and Sun to gain share in the Unix server market, a space that generated $3.9 billion in revenue in the third quarter of 2005, according to analyst firm IDC, of Framingham, Mass.

Not surprisingly, Sun officials discounted IBMs Power5+ chip, saying IBM was behind the times by focusing too much on processor speed, whereas Sun—with its new UltraSPARC T1 chip—was addressing the more important issues of power consumption and cooling.

"Theyre giving little tiny speed bumps with Power5+, nothing more than what we did with UltraSPARC IV+," said Larry Singer, senior vice president and strategic insight officer at Sun, in Santa Clara, Calif.

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However, Freund argued that Power5+-based systems offered better performance than Suns T1 or UltraSPARC IV+ servers, and that IBMs business strategy is being validated by the number of customers moving to IBM from Sun and HP. Since IBM in 2003 kicked off its Migration Factory, about 240 customers have made the move from the two rivals to IBM, he said.

He added that IBM plans to grow the program this year, by bringing in business partners in North America and expanding it into Europe.

"Its become a real global effort," Freund said.

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