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IBM Debuts pSeries Linux Server

New version runs open-source operating system natively, dropping starting price and removing Unix from the equation.
IBM pushed Linux even further into its lineup of products and services Wednesday with the introduction of its first pSeries server to natively run the open-source operating system. Late next week, IBM will begin shipping a Linux version of its p630 server, which previously ran only on the company's AIX Unix operating system.

Previously, companies that wanted to run Linux on a pSeries had to create a partition and run Unix and Linux simultaneously. The new p630 removes Unix from the equation and drops the starting price of the server by 8%, or $1,500, to $15,500. The server runs a 64-bit version of SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8, as opposed to AIX, on the same Power4 processor. The p630 comes as a single-processor, dual-processor, or four-way server. Cost savings for two-way and four-way Linux as opposed to Unix servers are $7,900 and $11,900, respectively.

The new Linux version will support Linux-compatible versions of IBM DB2, Tivoli management, and WebSphere application-server software as well as IBM's Java Virtual Machine and Just In Time compiler. Early next year, IBM will introduce a natively Linux version of its p650 server, which previously had run only on Unix and scales to as many as eight processors.

IBM's decision to introduce a Linux version of its pSeries server is a move that will take time to bear fruit, says Charles King, research director for Sageza Group. "Realistically, 64-bit Linux is still in the early-adopter phase, and the number of applications is small," he says. On the positive side, IBM is making good on its commitment to deploy Linux across the company's entire product line. "The fact that IBM has come out with a machine that supports AIX and Linux gives users a chance to try Linux a little at a time," King says. "If they like it, they can always buy more."

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