New IBM Server Ready For Dual-Core Opteron

Tracy Barney, vice president of IBM business development at Computer Tech, a Houston-based solution provider, said she is glad to see IBM commit to the Opteron platform by extending its Opteron-based server offerings.

"We really, really liked the initial offering," Barney said. "As an Itanium alternative, it is a great server. Especially how IBM competitively priced it and positioned it as a low-end edge server. Put that together with all the issues with Itanium, and it [fills] the gap."

IBM's new eServer 326 is scheduled to replace the older e325 Opteron server and has been improved with support for dual-core Opteron processors. Industry reports say the processors are expected in mid-2005, said Alex Yost, director of product marketing for eServers at IBM, Armonk, N.Y.

Yost refused to discuss IBM support for dual-core Intel processors. "This is a day to celebrate a lot of great Opteron news," he said.

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The eServer 326 will also include support for up to 16 Gbytes of high-speed PC3200/2700 DDR1 memory, two 100MHz PCI-X slots, and up to two SCSI or Serial ATA hard drives, Yost said.

IBM's new pretested, preconfigured Model 1350 cluster solutions include a rack with servers, management console, cables and power supplies, allowing for immediate deployment by solution providers, Yost said.

The 1350 can be purchased as a set SKU or configured to specific customer requirements, he said.

Computer Tech's Barney said configuring a clustering solution is difficult for smaller customers, which makes a preconfigured clustering solution suitable for many of them. And while the solution may decrease traditional service opportunities, it also opens the door to new ones, she said.

"If it makes clustering affordable and available to customers who couldn't buy [clustering solutions] otherwise, that's an opportunity for us. ... Sure, it can take away some of the traditional services. But if it's net new business, it doesn't cost me anything. Generally, when IBM comes out with a new SMB product, it's set up so partners can work with it."

Yost said there is no reason for solution providers to worry about the clustered solutions. "The real value-add is the solution," he said. "If we can get the hardware integrated, the VAR can add other support."