IBM has announced an ultra-slim blade server and new xSeries server aimed at capitalising on the market for server consolidation.
Available in February, the eServer BladeCenter HS40 uses Intel Xeon 2.8GHz MP chips, with up to seven four-processor blades stacked in the 7U (12.5in) chassis.
Big Blue is also emphasising the space that can be saved with its latest Intel Linux model. The 3U-high (5.5in) rack-mounted eServer xSeries 365, also four-way, is available immediately. Each blade holds 16GB of memory.
Steve Edwards, IBM xSeries new products manager for EMEA, told vnunet.com: "A lot of customers are starting to standardise on blades and they wanted to get four-way."
Hewlett Packard has only two four-way ProLiant blades in its 9U chassis, so the HS40 has three times the processing power in three quarters of the ProLiant's size, he claimed.
The xSeries 365 takes up a third less floor space than equivalent Dell or HP systems - or houses 40 per cent more processors in the same space, according to IBM.
It is aimed at customers wanting to consolidate a large number of servers, or with big databases where connectivity and expansion are important. Blades are not suitable in these situations because they have limited expansion and few PCI slots, and not everyone wants external storage, explained Edwards.
The xSeries 365 provides six internal hard disk drives with a total storage capacity of 876GB, or four disks and Digital Data Storage format tape backup.
Analyst IDC's European systems group vice president, Martin Hingley, said the vast majority of systems sold in Europe so far have been two-way. But he acknowledged the need for four-processor systems.
"There is definitely a consolidation story [for four-way]. It's a strong argument for medium-sized businesses," he said.
But he warned: "The basic issue in the medium timescale is miniaturisation. IBM will have no sustainable unique advantage. [These servers] are still 32bit so run up against addressing limits."
IDC's 2003 figures show HP to be the clear market-leader in two-way server sales in Europe. Two-way systems account for around three quarters of all shipments in the 1-8 processor range.
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