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IBM Targets SMBs With i5 Servers, Software

IBM adds faster processors and an enhanced integrated operating system to make the System i5 product line more appealing to small and mid-sized businesses.
IBM has overhauled its platform for small and mid-sized businesses—the System i5 line—with faster processors and a new version of its integrated operating system.

"We're focused on simplifying the complexity of IT for SMBs, as well as promoting innovation within independent software developers and tools providers," says Jim Herring, director of product management and business operations for IBM's iSeries servers.

The new System i5 servers will use the latest dual-core Power5+ processors from IBM that run at speeds up to 2.2 GHz, and provide up to a 33% increase in performance compared to previous Power5 based models, he says. The systems will also have the latest version of the i5 operating system version 5 release 4 (V5R4), which provides for extended flexibility in running Linux, AIX 5L, and Windows applications on the same systems. V5R4 also integrates enhanced security and disaster-recovery features.

The new servers will use an industry-standard iSCSI connection to let customers directly attach i5 systems to the company's x86-based xSeries as well as its BladeCenter server product lines, Herring says.

V5R4 has new auditing and intrusion-detection capabilities to help users protect against network attacks, and virtual tape support to let users save directly to disk instead of a tape drive. Also being added is a 32-bit Java virtual machine, which will allow customers to more easily port Windows applications than the previously existing 64-bit JVM, and new options to deploy service oriented architecture applications.

The new microprocessor technology and software will be available on all i5 product models, including the 520, 550, 570, and 595, beginning on February 14. Integration of BladeCenter and System i5 products will be available in May.