IBM Expands Use of Quad-Core Technology

Big Blue brings the Power5+ module to its entry-level servers.

At a time when most of the attention is on dual-core systems, IBM is growing the use of its quad-core technology.

The Armonk, N.Y., company on Aug. 23 is announcing that it is enhancing four entry-level System p servers with a faster Power5+ chip and the Quad-Core Module. IBM introduced the technology in February with the p5 550Q.

In addition, the new servers will be running a faster Power5+, which runs at 1.65GHz, rather than 1.5GHz.

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IBM also unveiled new Express versions of servers that come prepackaged with either AIX 5l—IBMs Unix variant—or Linux, as well as Solution Editions designed for specific applications.

The quad-core module technology makes those System p servers an attractive alternative to x86 servers, according to Charles Bryan, program director for System p solutions offerings.

"It allows us to have more aggressive price points across our Express line," Bryan said. "If you do the math … the dollar per core is a lot better now. And you can get more out of each core."

IBMs Quad-Core Module offers two modules, each housing two processing cores.

IBM is now offering the 1U (1.75-inch) p5 505Q Express, 2U (3.5-inch) 510Q Express and 4U (7-inch) 520Q Express with the faster chip and quad-core technology, and updated the four- and eight-core 550Q Express.

In addition, the company upgraded its single- and dual-core 505, 510 and 520 Express systems and the two- and four-core 550 Express with the new 2.1GHz Power5+. IBM also introduced two models of the BladeCenter JS21 Express blade server—a two-core 2.7GHz or four-core 2.5GHz version of its PowerPC 970MP chips. There also is a new IntelliStation Power 285 Express workstation that will run on the 2.1GHz processor and will offer the new SpacePilot 3D input device.

The Express servers offer IBMs Advanced Power Virtualization technology as an option. The technology includes micropartitioning and Virtual I/O Server V1.3 for greater efficiency and utilization.

"In scale-out environments, people are running out of floor capacity and power in the data center," Bryan said. "These give them flexibility and a low price point."

The flexibility not only includes the virtualization capabilities, but also the ability to run either AIX or Linux, he said. Linux continues to gain traction in the server space. According to numbers released Aug. 23 by analyst firm IDC, of Framingham, Mass., revenues and shipments in the Linux server space grew in the second quarter 6.1 percent and 9.7 percent, respectively.

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The Unix space saw declines of 1.6 percent in revenue and 1.8 percent in shipments, IDC said.

IBM also is introducing several new Solution Edition systems with particular applications already tested and loaded, including offerings for SAPs NetWeaver Business Intelligence and Oracles E-Business Suite and JD Edwards EnterpriseOne.

In addition, IBM is offering Express models preloaded with Misys health care applications, SAPs Enterprise SOA, Oracles Real Applications Clusters, SAS Forecast Server for AIX 5L and Sybases Unwired Accelerator Mobility Solution.

The System p5 Express options are available now. Configuration support for the Solution Editions will be available Sept. 11.

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