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IBM keeps the AIX flag flying

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IBM has taken its sweet time bringing the z990 mainframe and refreshed p690 to market, but the high-end kit has now arrived and is on sale.

The z990 had its coming out party in May with IBM showing its largest mainframe to date. The system holds 32 processors and has all the reliability features expected of a mainframe.

The p690 sits atop IBM's Unix server line and has been shipping for more than a year with Power4 processors. IBM earlier this year said that it would add faster Power4+ chips to the kit and has now backed its words with deeds.

The 32 processor p690 will ship with the AIX operating system despite SCO's objections .

IBM continues to assure customers that the mainframe is not dead. The aged beasts run Linux apps these days and support IBM's hopes of renting out processing power a few partitions at a time.

Revenue from the mainframe business, however, has its ups and downs.

The pSeries Unix servers on the other hand have helped IBM make steady gains against rivals Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard over the last two years. IBM caught the attention of users with its dual-core Power 4 chip and has done well to revive a flagging business during a worldwide buying slump. ®

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