IBM Powers Up Unix Servers

IBM upgrades its 16-way p670 and 32-way p690 systems, which soon will be offered with IBM's On/Off Capacity on Demand technology.

IBM, having upgraded its midrange eServer p650 system with the latest versions of the Power4+ microprocessor, is now turning its attention to other servers within its Unix line.

The Armonk, N.Y., tech giant on Tuesday will announce that it is putting more processing power into its 16-way p670 and 32-way p690 systems.

The p690 will be sold with either the 1.5GHz or 1.7GHz Power4+, IBMs 64-bit dual-core processor, said Jim McGaughan, director of IBMs eServer strategy. It also will come with 567MHz of Level 3 cache and a new interconnect system that offers almost three times the I/O bandwidth, McGaughan said.

The p670 will be upgraded to include the 1.5GHz Power4+. In addition, IBMs ultradense system, the cluster-optimized p655, will be offered with either the 1.5GHz or 1.7GHz chip, with more L3 cache, bandwidth and memory, he said. IBM also has doubled the number of systems that can be tied into a single cluster, from 32 to 64.

Along with the chip upgrades will come more on-demand technology, McGaughan said. Starting in mid-May, the p670 and p690 systems will be offered with IBMs On/Off Capacity on Demand technology, which enables users to pay for only the amount of processor power they need, allowing them to add or subtract as desired.

In addition, starting in August, the p650, p670 and p690 systems running on the 1.5GHz or 1.7GHz chip also will come with memory on demand, and IBM is planning to offer software such as DB2 database and Tivoli management products in on-demand mode, McGaughan said.

IBM is offering its processor or memory on-demand technology for free during a 30-day trial period.

IBMs plans drew some derisive comments from officials with Sun Microsystems Inc., who said the Santa Clara, Calif., company first introduced CPU power on demand in 1999 with the Enterprise 10K system powered by the UltraSparc II, and enhanced that capability to include the ability to turn it off as needed earlier this year. Now the on-demand capabilities are included in Suns midrange Unix servers, from the Sun Fire 4800 through the 15K.

"Weve got a lot of experience in this space," said Steve Campbell, vice president of marketing for Suns Enterprise Systems Products group.

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