IBM Launches New iSeries Systems

IBM this week disclosed significant changes to its eServer iSeries line of mid-range servers. Once known as the AS/400 line, the servers primarily run IBM's OS/400, but they can be outfitted with Windows and Linux, as well. New to the iSeries are the addition of a new sub-$10,000 system and the introduction of support for On/Off Capacity Upgrade on Demand (CUD).

All told, Big Blue unveiled four new iSeries servers, including two high-end systems -- the eServer iSeries models 870 and 825 -- that are designed to complement its current top-of-the-line eServer iSeries model 890. For SMB customers, IBM introduced a new single processor system -- the iSeries 800, which starts at $9,995 -- along with the two-way iSeries 810.

Big Blue has marketed other low-cost iSeries systems over the years -- its AS/400 Advanced Entry 150 and 170 systems, for example -- and currently markets the eServer iSeries 250.

According to worldwide iSeries manager David Bruce, the new model 800 is the first low-cost iSeries system that effectively supports Linux, Domino or WebSphere Application Server, in addition to 5250 applications, on the same hardware. "With [iSeries 800], we'll be delivering a system that's under $10,000 and will be capable of running all of those kinds of work."

IBM also tinkered with the packaging of its new iSeries systems, offering customers a choice between Standard and Enterprise Editions. Bruce says the standard edition supports e-business applications and includes the capability to run multiple operating systems, in addition to features such as CUD and dynamic logical partitioning.

The Enterprise edition, on the other hand, introduces further enhancements, such as On/Off CUD, and includes support for a range of DB2, WebSphere, Lotus and Tivoli middleware. As part of its Enterprise edition packaging, Bruce says IBM will also offer free processor activation for Linux on its high-end iSeries 870 and iSeries 890 systems, along with an integrated IBM eServer xSeries for Windows integration.

The upshot, he explains, is that each iSeries server in the product line is now capable of supporting multiple operating environments -- OS/400, Linux, and Windows -- in addition to e-business applications such as WebSphere.

"In our 2002 product line, a customer might look at the lineup and they might choose based on performance or price, and they would find that some capabilities don't exist in certain parts of the line. In this new line-up, every server can run Linux, every server has partitioning, every server can run WebSphere."

Click here for a more detailed story on this launch from Enterprise Systems.

About the Author

Stephen Swoyer is a Nashville, TN-based freelance journalist who writes about technology.

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