IBM s Power4 Sets Sail in Regatta

Big Blue unveils its most powerful Unix server yet, a 32-way system code named Regatta that is powered by the company's new 'server on a chip,' the 1GHz 64-bit Power4.

IBM Wednesday added its most powerful Unix server yet to its lineup, a 32-way system featuring its new "server on a chip" microprocessor architecture, the 1GHz 64-bit Power4.

The eServer p690, known by the code name Regatta, also features self-healing technologies to reduce system failures and has the capability to be divided into as many as 16 virtual servers that can enable businesses to consolidate several machines into one.

IBMs new system, which will begin shipping Dec. 1, marks the latest entry in the increasingly competitive high-end Unix server market. Just last week, Sun Microsystems Inc. debuted its 106-way Sun Fire 15K server, its new top-of-the-line system. Earlier this summer, Fujitsu Technology Solutions unveiled a 128-processor system, the PrimePower 2000.

Unix servers, which can cost up to $10 million each, have become a mainstay at many large corporations because of their reliability and ability to readily scale upward to meet increasing workload demands. In addition, high-end multiprocessor Unix systems are capable of handling a large number of simultaneous transactions, making them particularly prized by financial institutions and companies developing e-commerce sites.

According to IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., among the first companies receiving the p690 are U.S. defense contractor Raytheon Co., food retailer Royal Ahold N.V., Telia Internet Inc. and Tokyo Metro University.

Last year, Sun was the No. 1 high-end Unix server vendor, garnering 47.1 percent of the worldwide market, based on revenue, according to research firm International Data Corp. IBM was a distant second with 18.8 percent, and HP was third with 11.4 percent.

But in overall server revenue, IBM is king, capturing 26 percent of the worldwide market, according to the latest quarterly numbers released last month by IDC. Sun came in second with a 16.5 percent share.