IBM Targets Four-Way Systems - InformationWeek

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2/25/2005
10:40 AM
Darrell Dunn
Darrell Dunn
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IBM Targets Four-Way Systems

The Hurricane chipset, which IBM executives say is all about performance, is based on the company's X3 architecture

IBM last week unveiled details of its Hurricane chipset, which the company hopes can bring its four-way servers the same success it has had with eight-way systems and ultimately overtake rival Hewlett-Packard in the four-way processor server market.

"This architecture represents what we believe is breakthrough technology," says Jay Bretzmann, director of IBM's xSeries product line. The Hurricane chipset is based on the company's X3 architecture, the third generation of x86-based processor chipsets designed specifically by IBM for its xSeries products.

By using the latest-generation processors, IBM and other server manufacturers generally can expect to achieve performance improvements of up to 25%, Bretzmann says. The Hurricane provides a 38% improvement over the previous generation xSeries chipsets, he says.

Growth Spurt Chart"The reason we were able to do this is because we focused solely on performance with this generation design," Bretzmann says. "In previous generations, we worked on functionality, adding new features, and reliability characteristics, but this generation is all about performance."

The first product based on the Hurricane chipset is the eServer xSeries 366, a four-way, Xeon-based system with EM64T memory addressing. The x366 is scheduled for availability within 90 days.

HP leads the four-way Intel server market with market share of 39% in the third quarter of 2004; IBM is second at 23%, according to research firm IDC. That's in contrast to the eight-way Intel server market, where IBM had market share of 59% in the third quarter of 2004, and HP was second with 31% share.

"We're aiming for leadership share in the four-way market," Bretzmann says. "Before the year is out, IBM will become the No. 1 vendor in the four-way space."

IBM will introduce other xSeries servers based on the X3 architecture during the coming months, Bretzmann says, with intentions of scaling the architecture through 32-way systems.

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