Now Sparring: IBM vs. Dell in the Entry-Level Intel Server Arena

by Amy Newman

In a move to capture some of the entry server market away from Dell, IBM Monday presented two new Xeon-processor-based additions to its Intel eServer line.

In a move to capture some of the entry server market away from Dell, IBM Monday presented two new Xeon-processor-based additions to its Intel eServer line.

The IBM eServer x235 is a two-way, Intel-based server, a market segment that accounted for $10 billion in sales in 2001, according to IDC. It also represents the sweet spot in Dell's server lineup.

The two-way IBM server is designed for deploying solutions like file and print, and more critical mail/collaboration solutions Big Blue said. It is being marketed to midsize enterprises.

"The x235 beats Dell's system on price, it beats them on performance and delivers significant value derived from cutting-edge technology," said Jim Gargan, vice president, IBM eServer xSeries.

Depending on system configuration, the Dell PowerEdge 4600 is priced as much as $1,000 more than the x235. A comparable configuration of the x235 is priced 20 percent lower than the PowerEdge 4600, according to IBM.

The x235 is a tower-based server that comes with an integrated Dual Ultra320 SCSI controller and offers disk drive mirroring capabilities. The high-performance storage subsystem enables enterprises to protect critical data with RAID-1 Hard Drive mirroring using an Ultra 320 SCSI chip rather than a PCI slot. It can transfer data as fast as 20 MB per second -- twice as fast as previous systems.

The server comes with two Active PCI-X slots and features two high-speed 133 Mhz slots designed to eliminate bottlenecks and improve data transfer speed.

Powered by Intel's new Xeon Processor DP, the x235 surpassed Dell's throughput score on the Microsoft Exchange 2000 Messaging Benchmark, delivering 11 percent better performance than the PowerEdge 4600.

Dell meanwhile announced it has opted to work directly with Intel to develop an eight-processor system, CNet reported Monday. Dell reportedly backed out of its deal to sell high-end Intel servers using IBM's "Summit" technology because of the proprietary nature and high price of the technology.

IBM also introduced the xSeries 255 Xeon-based server at this time. The x255 is a four-way tower that benchmarked higher than every other four-way box on the Microsoft Exchange 2000 Messaging Benchmark.

The x255 includes the next-generation Intel Xeon Processor MP and supports up to 880 GB of internal storage. The server supports Ultra320 and U320 hard disk drives to maximize data transfer rates and help increase system performance. The x255 is also the first xSeries server to use Hot Spare Memory Protection, a self-managing feature that provides automatic protection from memory failure.

Both servers support Linux and Windows and include self-managing features, like Light Path Diagnostics and Predictive Failure Analysis, as well as remote administration tools.

The x235 and x255 are scheduled to begin shipping worldwide in late June.

Related Stories:
Dell Brings Sub-$3,000 Server to Market
IBM Introduces New Volume Management Technology on Linux
IBM Attacks Sun With Midrange Server

This article was originally published on Monday Jun 10th 2002
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