IBM is set to unveil within the coming weeks a new appliance server that it has developed in collaboration with Microsoft, according to sources familiar with the company's plans. The system, code named Pine Hill, will be aimed at Internet and application service providers.
Pine Hill is a Windows 2000-based device, but it will also include some new IBM software that the company will introduce at the same time. The software, which IBM is calling Netfinity Web Server Accelerator, is designed to facilitate caching architectures in which the appliance is positioned between the main server and the Internet. IBM says the setup will greatly reduce the wait times that frustrate E-commerce companies and Web surfers alike.
To date, most Internet companies that use caching techniques position the appliance server in remote locations, with the intention of storing the data physically closer to the user. That approach, however, only benefits users closest to the device.
While Pine Hill will be the first appliance server that IBM rolls out, sources say the company will launch a family of such products throughout the year under its Netfinity brand. While some, like Pine Hill, are aimed at service providers, others will be targeted at corporations looking for alternative ways to manage networked storage.
Word of IBM's plans comes within days of news that Dell Computer will introduce a similar device early next month, prior to an analysts' meeting in New York. That major computer manufacturers are turning their attention to the market for specialized, single-purpose servers validates predictions that such devices will increasingly play a larger part within E-commerce infrastructures--at times replacing larger, more expensive multipurpose servers. According to U.S. Bancorp Piper Jaffray, the market for such appliance servers will grow to $10 billion by 2003.