IBM aims latest Unix server at e-commerce sites –

SOMERS, N.Y. -- IBM last week introduced a Unix server that comes with a host of features designed to support e-commerce and high-volume data center applications.

The latest addition to IBM's recently introduced eServer line is the pSeries 680, which is powered by up to 24 600-MHz S-Star processors in a single box and comes with as much as 96G bytes of memory. Using IBM's Blue Hammer technology, users can cluster together as many as 16 of the servers and manage them from a single point, cutting down on the number of systems they have to maintain.

The server also includes a processor that monitors system operations and takes action to prevent or correct problems, as well as technology that shifts applications to different processors when others fail.

While IBM's server faces stiff competition from offerings delivered by Compaq, Hewlett-Packard and Sun, the company is counting on its server's management and reliability features to help it stand out.

The pSeries 680 should prove particularly attractive to companies looking to consolidate servers and simplify the management of them, says Bill Claybrook, a research director at Aberdeen Group in Boston. IBM's renowned service organization doesn't hurt the company when it comes to selling high-end servers either, he says.

IBM has also stacked up a slew of benchmark ratings on popular e-commerce and corporate software platforms (including those from Baan, PeopleSoft and SAP) that back up its claims that the p680 is well-suited to high-volume tasks.

Companies that currently have IBM's RS/6000 S80 servers, which were introduced about a year ago, can upgrade to the pSeries 680 by plugging a processor board in to a server slot. They can also get the management processor features of the pSeries 680 through a firmware upgrade.

A six-processor configuration starts at about $420,000 and a full 24-processor version is priced at about $2 million.


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