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IBM claims latest p-servers put Sun in the shade

But the ebiz RS6000s don't have partitioning

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IBM has introduced two mid-range servers which it said offer users a more economical and reliable alternative to comparable kit from Sun Microsystems, the Unix market leader.

The p620 and rack-mounted p660 servers are the first mid-range systems from IBM to feature its Silicon-on-Insulator (SOI) technology. Big Blue said the use of SOI technology increases server performance and up time because processors that run up to 35 per cent faster and at much cooler temperatures than traditional aluminium chips.

The p660 and p620, which feature IBM's copper interconnect technology, also come with self-management and reliability features, such as a memory correction feature called Chipkill, which was derived from technology used on IBM's mainframes.

IBM claims Sun's comparable server - the recently announced Sun Fire 3800 - is up to "88 percent more expensive, consumes nearly three times more electricity" as its newly introduced servers.

According to published products specs, a 4-way IBM eServer p660 with 4GB of memory, 36GB disk, DVD/CD-ROM and tape drive costs $92,885, compared with $174,445 for a similarly-configured Sun Fire 3800.

Industry observers said the IBM kit does not feature the partitioning technology found in Sun's servers, which are pitched higher up the enterprise food chain than IBM's kit. IBM has run into fire for similar claims, based on its own reading of IDC figures, in the past.

IBM is undaunted by this criticism and points to the performance figures for its servers. The eServer p660, is according to IBM, the world's fastest 6-way transaction processing server, scoring 57,346.93 transactions per minute (tpmC) in the TPC-C
transaction-processing benchmark, at a cost of $32.59 per transaction.

The servers are being positioned by IBM as a fast and reliable platform on which to run e-business, supply chain, customer relationship management, and business intelligence applications.

The announcement is accompanied by IBM's introduction of AIX 5L, the next generation in UNIX operating systems, which features improved support for Linux applications. ®

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