IBM Sets Sun, HP In Sights In Low-End Unix Space

The new servers, unveiled last week, are the first one-way and two-way Unix servers based on IBM's Power5 processors, the next-generation chip technology the vendor rolled out in July, said Jeff Howard, program director for IBM's pSeries offering.

IBM, Armonk, N.Y., has not offered one- and two-way Unix servers in several years, but it has identified an opportunity to steal market share from HP and Sun in the high-volume, low-end Unix market, he said.

"There is a lot of room left to take share on the low end," Howard said. IBM already offers four-way Unix servers based on Power5, he added.

Bob Venero, president and CEO of Future Tech Enterprise, a VAR and IBM partner in Holbrook, N.Y., said Sun has dominated the low-end Unix space, while IBM has not been much of a contender.

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However, with the scalability and competitive pricing of the new p5-510 servers—which Venero said offer better price-performance than comparable competitive products—IBM is throwing down the gauntlet in its aim to win share, he said. "IBM has set the bar," Venero said. "Over time, you're going to see other manufacturers playing catch-up from a price perspective."

IBM's new eServer p5-510 is rack-mountable and has a 1.65GHz Power5 processor. It's also available in an Express version, aimed at the SMB market, Howard said. The p5-510 Express is built on a 1.5GHz Power5 processor. Both servers can run Linux or AIX, IBM's Unix OS.

For a minimum configuration of the p5-510 Express, pricing starts at $3,967 for a one-way server and $5,999 for a two-way. A minimum configuration of the p5-510 is $4,867 for a one-way and $6,597 for a two-way. Both servers are slated to be available Feb. 18.