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IBM Announces Thin Server

Imagine 42 servers crammed into one rack, and a backside that doesn’t resemble an Amazonian jungle with vine-like cables sprouting everywhere. That’s IBM’s vision with the first of their new xSeries line of servers.

Announced Monday, the xSeries 330 is a 1U-thin server sporting a new cabling technology called C2T. It connects one server to the next with just one short cable that takes the place of 53 cables and 282 connectors per rack, according to IBM. That eliminates about 70 percent of connections overall, the company estimates.

The x330 is the first 1U server to use the 1GHz Intel Pentium III processor (the lowest-speed processor offered is 800 MHz). Each server can have up to two processors, with an impressive potential 84GHz of computing power per rack.

IBM claims that such a configuration would be three times as powerful, at one-third the cost, of a Sun Netra T1, although the statement relies on a questionable comparison of the clock speeds of different types of processors (Pentium III versus UltraSPARC).

IBM Spokesperson John Simonds left no doubt about who they view as their main competition in this arena. “We’re going to go after Sun in the Web server space. Sun is proprietary, and we’re delivering more rack density, lower time to revenue, and more reliability at a third less” cost, he said.

Simonds said that industry reaction to the x330 has been very positive so far. Without naming names, he said that a “major component supplier” has bought thousands already, and one of the top three ISP’s nationwide will be switching to the x330 next week.

The x330 is part of Big Blue’s new eServer line of computers aimed at the exploding e-business market. It includes an alphabet soup of servers, including iSeries, pSeries and zSeries computers. The xSeries represents the Intel processor-based server line formerly known as Netfinity.

“The days of overcharging and delivering lower performance are over,” Simonds said of the new offering, taking another swipe at Scott McNealy and company. “Sun’s on notice.” Keith Ward

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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