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IBM Drops New Xeon MPs Into Server Line

IBM Corp. is immediately refreshing its Intel-based server line with new silicon from Intel. IBM's quick work advances Big Blue's already significant lead in delivering eight-way Xeon MP servers while main competitors HP and Dell continue to deliver eight-processor boxes populated with 900-MHz Pentium III Xeon processors.

Intel this week unveiled its next group of Xeon MP processors, which had gone by the code-name "Gallatin." The new Xeon MPs, designed to power four-processor and larger systems, come at clockspeeds of 2 GHz, 1.9 GHz and 1.5 GHz. The fastest of the new processors has 2 MB of integrated L3 cache. The other two models come with 1 MB of L3 cache.

On Nov. 15, IBM will deliver new four-processor and eight-processor versions of the IBM eServer xSeries 440 with the new Xeon MP processors. The x440 is IBM's new modular server that scales in bricks of four processors to eight processors. IBM intends to release a 16-processor option for the modular server later this year.

IBM will refresh its x255 four-way servers, which come in rack and tower models, with the Xeon MPs on Nov.18. The rack-dense four-way x360 servers will be available with the faster Xeon MPs on Dec. 13.

While the majority of sales of the new "Gallatin" Xeon MPs will be in four-way systems, IBM has been gaining ground in the eight-processor market. The company developed its own chipset for the x440, which gives IBM a way to deliver eight-processor systems. HP and Dell don't have chipsets yet to deliver eight-processor Xeon MP servers.

"It's been a very good market for us. We've managed to pick up 17 points of market share based on revenue from Q2 2001 to Q2 2002, according to IDC," says Jay Bretzmann, director of product marketing for IBM's eServer xSeries. In Q2 of 2002, IBM trailed HP in the eight-way space by 45.3 percent to 32.6 percent, and Bretzmann expects IBM will make further share gains when IDC posts its Q3 numbers.

About the Author

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

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