IBM will outline technology plans for its 64-bit Intel platforms, in a white paper to be released next month.
The IBM NetFinity X-architecture white paper, seen by PC Week, states that "businesses can expect the same degree of performance, reliability, scalability and security as provided by traditional high-end systems, as well as systems management and control". The vendor then outlines adoption of new technologies like copper-based chips early next year, the PCI-X bus slated for the end of next year, and Silicon On Insulator (SOI) expected in 2000.
In IBM's estimation these advancements will give Intel machines "horrendous capability" which would only benefit a true 64-bit operating system. Microsoft is still unable to pinpoint a date for a 64-bit version of NT 5.
While Intel has no plans to move to copper-based chips until after Merced or McKinley (due mid-2000 and mid-2001 respectively), IBM plans to surround the silicon processor with copper-based, self-manufactured RAID controllers and memory controllers. The company estimates that copper could improve performance of a RAID controller by up 20-40%.
PCI-X is a joint initiative from Compaq, IBM, HP, Adaptec and 3Com to provide the bandwidth necessary to run applications like Gigabit Ethernet, Fibre Channel and cluster interconnects.
IBM claims that the SOI technology will increase the performance of a silicon chip by up to 25%. SOI allows IBM to "glue Merced chips together".
It estimates that using SOI in conjunction with the SP clustering management system (a six-point switch borrowed from the IBM mainframe) will allow clusters to be formed with 512 to 1,000 nodes (individual NetFinity servers) with 8 to 16 processors in each box.
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