IBM, HP Give SMBs More Server Options

Following Dell's recent rollout of single-processor servers, IBM and HP unveil new systems for small and midsize businesses.

Small and midsize businesses continue to get the attention of major OEMs, who are offering upgraded systems targeted at the increasingly coveted customers.

IBM on Thursday will unveil upgraded single-processor tower and rack-optimized servers that include such standard features as simple-swap serial ATA drives, integrated IBM ServerRAID 7e RAID-1 capabilities for mirroring the hard drive, and the ability to power on and power off the systems remotely.

IBMs release comes two days after Hewlett-Packard Co. unveiled the first system in its ML100 line of ProLiant systems for SMBs, and a couple of weeks after Dell Inc. rolled out two single-processor servers.

IBMs eServer xSeries 206 tower configuration and 306 rack-optimized server will offer the latest 3.2GHz Pentium 4 chip from Intel Corp. that includes 800MHz front-side bus, said Stuart McRae, manager of xSeries products.

He also said some of the features offered in the systems, such as the simple-swap drives—which enable users to replace drives in a matter of minutes without having to use a screwdriver—and remote powering, can run as much as $500 to $600 as options in systems from other vendors.

"We took the most tangible cost-saving drivers and put them into every system," said McRae, in Raleigh, N.C.

Both systems will be available by the end of the month. Pricing for the x206 will start at $499; for the 306, pricing starts at $1,339.

Earlier this week, HP, of Palo Alto, Calif., unveiled the ML110, the first system in its new ML100 series available globally and designed to give SMBs server functionality for the price of a desktop. The goal was to give SMB customers—many of whom will buy the ML110 as their first system—what they need out of an entry-level server without all the features that theyd find in larger systems but wouldnt necessarily need, such as networking and remote management technologies, said James Mouton, vice president for platforms in HPs Industry Standard Server group.

The system, which is available immediately starting at $499, has the necessary tool sets and software to perform such functions as booting and setting up the server, although HP officials said users also get a lot of the management tools through their operating systems.

The ML110 offers either a 3GHz Pentium 4 chip or 2.6GHz Celeron processor, with up to 4GB of memory.

Mouton said HP has been shipping another single-processor system, the ML150, in Asia, and plans to distribute that worldwide in the future.

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