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IBM Brings Quad-Core Servers To The Entry-Level Market

The new servers come out ahead of Intel and AMD quad-core offerings that are in the works.

With Intel and AMD planning to have quad-core chip systems out in less than a year, IBM thinks it can get a jump in the quad-core race. It's launched four new servers based on the company's quad-core Power 5+ processors, a move it also thinks will expand its position in entry-level server implementations.

IBM is offering four servers based on its second-generation quad-core Power 5+ processors, which operate at 1.65 GHz clock speeds. IBM had previously offered two Power 5+ quad-core System p servers based on the first-generation processors that had clock speeds of 1.5 GHz. The two previous systems were aimed at the high to mid range market, whereas the new offerings will provide new price-performance in line with x86-based servers using processors from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices.

IBM often wasn't considered for server deals because it was too pricey, despite advanced features like virtualization built into the hardware. "We expect to get much broader consideration from a wider range of customers because we now have very competitive price points," says Chuck Bryan, program director for solutions offerings for IBM's System p5 servers. Bryan won't say what those are, beyond promising "aggressive" pricing.

IBM is marketing the 505Q Express, a 1U server using the quad-core Power 5+; the 510Q, a 2U system; the 520Q, a configurable 4U system; and the 550Q, a 4U system targeted at server consolidation installations.

Bryan says the systems will appeal to customers wanting the benefit of quad-core designs who don't want to wait on quad-core systems based on Intel processors later this year, or on AMD processors in mid-2007.

Greater penetration in entry-level server installations would help IBM invigorate its server revenue. Although IBM continues to rank as the largest server vendor with 31% market share in the second quarter, according to IDC, IBM's server revenue dipped 2.2% in the quarter as compared to a year ago.

IBM is also introducing System p5 Solution Edition products tailored specifically for use with SAP and Oracle applications. The Solution Edition servers come in configurations of servers, storage, and optional services to support specific installations, including data warehousing and business analytics, for set numbers of users.

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