Infrastructure // PC & Servers
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4/23/2008
04:16 PM
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Web 2.0: IBM Launches High-Powered Server For Internet Companies

The iDataPlex system doubles the number of servers that can run in a vertical rack, while using 40% less power.

IBM on Wednesday unveiled a new type of server design that targets so-called Web 2.0 companies building huge data centers to power social networks, online gaming, search, and other services that reach millions of users.

The iDataPlex system, which leverages IBM's Intel-based blade-server technology, doubles the number of servers that can run in a vertical rack, while using 40% less power, according to IBM. The new system uses a liquid-cooled wall in the back to provide cooling, which enables the technology to run without the need of air conditioning.

The rack system is meant to replace the white-box servers commonly found in Internet companies' data centers. The iDataPlex is designed for "stateless computing" that turns many separate computers into a pool of shared resources, IBM said. The system is geared toward allowing customers to scale rapidly, as traffic increases.

"With iDataPlex, IBM is making Web 2.0-style computing more efficient and commercializing it for Internet companies and other high performance segments like financial services and research," Bill Zeitler, senior VP of IBM's systems and technology group, said in a statement. "iDataPlex can provide a foundation that companies can build on to provide improved services to Web users around the world."

The system runs the open-source Linux operating system, including distributions from IBM partners Novell and Red Hat. It also uses the open source, scale-out cluster management software xCat. IBM plans to use iDataPlex in its Cloud Computing Center at Dublin, Ireland and at the Almaden Research Center in San Jose, Calif.

Vendors that have committed to work with IBM in building products for iDataPlex include Avocent, Blade Network Technology, Devon IT, Force 10 Networks, Intel, QLogic, and SMC Networks. Blade Network, for example, built its new RackSwitch G8000 Ethernet switch specifically for the new system, IBM said.

IDataPlex is scheduled for release in the United States and Canada next month and globally by the end of the year. The new product is a custom-built solution, so pricing, which could run into the millions of dollars, will depend on configuration.

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