The move will consolidate its pSeries line with its AIX operating system and its iSeries with its OS/400 and i5/OS operating systems, the analyst said. "The Power5 is at the heart of all this," said Nathan Brookwood, principal analyst of Insight 64. "What IBM is trying to do here is to show that the Power5 product line is so powerful--why would anybody think of using an Itanium?"
Brookwood said the new servers will compete not only with Itanium-based configurations from Hewlett-Packard, but also with servers from Sun Microsystems.
An IBM spokesman declined to comment on the reports.
A key feature of the new IBM servers will be micropartitioning for a new version of AIX, IBM's version of Unix. The micropartitioning feature will enable users to run different operating systems at the same time within a single processor. "That's a big breakthrough," said Brookwood.
The new eServer p5 line will be offered initially in processor multiples of two, four, and 16--each with ascending degrees of scalability. Brookwood said a 64-processor version should be available later in the year.
Brookwood noted that the new eServers represent a doubling of power over IBM's Power4-based servers. In addition to AIX and the i5/OS operating systems, a version of Linux is expected to be available for the new line.