IBM Offers Up Power5 Dual-Core Servers For SMB

The new servers will use the IBM's existing Power5 as well as the Power5+, a new processor that combines two dual-core Power5s and their cache together in one module. IBM was able to combine the components by shrinking the existing Power5 by nearly 40 percent, said Jeff Howard, program director at IBM Systems and Technology Group. Each of the servers can be installed with Unix or Linux operating systems.

The systems, offered under the Express brand for SMB, include the p5 505 Express, a 1U rack-mount system with one 1.65GHz Power5, 1 Gbyte of memory, two 73.4-Gbyte hard drives, and a DVD-ROM starting at $3,750. The server also can be configured with two 1.5GHz or 1.65GHz Power5 processors.

Also available is a 4U rack-mount systems, the p5 520 Express. The two-way server carries a price of $11,896 for two 1.9GHz Power5+ processors, 2Gbytes of memory and two 73.4-Gbyte hard drives.

IBM's highest end systems in this line are the p5 550 and the p5 550Q Express servers. The 500 offers two or four 1.9GHz Power5+ processors with 36 Mbytes or 72 Mbytes of Level 3 cache. The 550Q offers four or eight 1.5GHz Power5+ processors with 72 Mbytes or 144 Mbytes of L3 cache. Pricing for these systems ranges from $17,000 to $37,000, depending on configuration.

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The servers are available with optional virtualization software that IBM says will help integrators easily set up different virtualization scenarios for customers. "It vastly simplifies what it takes to set up a micropartition on a Power5 system," Howard said. "It takes about three clicks of a mouse." Integrators previously would have had to purchase a hardware management console and then set up the virtualization, he added.

By the fourth quarter, IBM expects to roll out a simplified p5 educational program for integrators that want to sell the p5 systems into SMB, Howard said. IBM also will provide an enhanced marketing and lead-generation for the systems, but Howard declined to reveal IBM's spending commitment for this program.

Servers aimed at the low-end of the SMB market have been making headlines over the past several weeks. Last week, IBM introduced a line of low-cost x86 servers for small business. Sun also recently unveiled its long-planned Galaxy servers, a line of servers with single- and dual-core Opteron processors starting at less than $1,000.