IBM And Friends Unveil New Web 2.0 Server Architecture

Web 2.0

The new server, the IBM iDataPlex system, is based on IBM's blade server technology and aimed at doubling server rack density while cutting power and cooling requirements.

The iDataPlex architecture is based on a proprietary IBM server rack which is similar to a standard 42U server rack that has been turned 90 degrees, making it wider but shallower than a standard rack.

The iDataPlex servers, built around Intel Xeon Quad-core processors and other industry-standard components, can be ordered in either 2U or 3U sizes. Each chassis has a depth of 15 inches. Two servers can be mounted side-by-side, giving the rack a density of 84U worth of servers in a space that traditional has room for only 42U of servers, an IBM spokesperson said.

IBM said that the iDataPlex architecture cuts power requirements by 40 percent compared to traditional servers. This is because cool air is easier to pull through the new server chassis because of their shallow 15-inch depth compared to normal servers, the spokesperson said.

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IBM also offers the IBM Rear Door Heat eXchanger, a liquid-cooled wall on the back of the system which allows the rack to run at room temperature and cutting or even eliminating the need for air conditioning, IBM said.

Several vendors on Wednesday unveiled related products to go with the iDataPlex architecture.

QLogic, of Aliso Viejo, Calif., said its 9024FC fixed-configuration InfiniBand switch will support the iDataPlex solution. The company plans to unveil a 24-port InfiniBand switch tailored to the iDataPlex's space and power requirements.

Blade Network Technologies, of Santa Clara, Calif., on Wednesday, unveiled new RackSwitch network virtualization switches specifically for the iDataPlex. With the company's RackSwitch SmartConnect software, multiple switches across multiple iDataPlex systems will be able to operate as a single virtual switch and allowing virtual servers to be easily migrated and repurposed, Blade Network said.

Force10 Networks, San Francisco, said on Wednesday that its Gbit and 10-Gbit Ethernet switches will also be available for the iDataPlex architecture.

IBM said the iDataPlex rack system is aimed at customers who provide rich content and applications for Web 2.0, including online gaming, social networking, search, and other internet-related businesses.

The iDataPlex is expected to be available in the US and Canada in June. They will be available only direct from IBM, and can be ordered in 22 custom configurations, depending on server, storage, and network requirements, the IBM spokesperson said. The configuration will be done before the rack is shipped to the customer.