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IBM tidies up high-end Unix kit

Bit of Power, bit of Linux

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IBM has injected a speed and Linux infusion into its high-end server line.

Starting March 5, IBM will start shipping the p690 server with 1.9GHz Power4+ processors. These are the fastest Power4 chips available from IBM at this time and provide a nice boost ahead of the Power5 launch expected later this year.

Along with the new chips, IBM will now offer SuSE and Red Hat Linux on any of its pSeries systems, including the big bad p690. IBM has been making Linux an option only on lower end RISC gear.

This move seems to show IBM is enjoying a bit of success with its Linux on Power strategy. The vast majority of Linux sales, however, are still coming via xSeries Intel and AMD-based servers.

IBM tweaked a few options for pSeries hardware as well. It has trimmed the prices for p670 and p690 servers. In addition, customers can now support up to 1TB of memory on p690 servers with the help of a 128GB memory card.

IBM has been pounding on rivals Sun Microsystems and HP in the Unix server market, gaining a large chunk of market share over the past year. The strong performance of Power4 is one reason for this success, along with highly competitive pricing from Big Blue.

The pressure is sure to increase when the Power5 systems start arriving. ®

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