The strategy behind the new eServer p630 is a departure from Big Blue's past, in which the systems vendor shipped pricier pSeries systems with both AIX, IBM's Unix operating system, and Linux for 64-bit processor machines. By offering just Linux, IBM is again trying to finesse a new pricing point to lure customers in economically challenged IT environments.
Like IBM's p650 released in November, the p630 is packed with POWER4 processors. Also like last month's pSeries machine, the new p630 is targeted at undercutting HP's similarly calibrated machines: Big Blue claims its p630 running Linux with a POWER4 microprocessor is 44 percent less expensive than the cost of HP's Itanium 2-based rx5670 server running Linux.
The eServer p630 is available with one, two, or four POWER4 processors and up to 8 GB of memory, in a rack or tower configuration.
"We are unbundling AIX from our pSeries Unix servers," said IBM Program Director for pSeries Linux Chuck Bryan. "We think Linux is really at its maturity level in the two- to eight-way space."
Bryan told internetnews.com that IBM already offers customers the choice of running Linux or AIX5L operating system simultaneously on the entire pSeries line with its partitioning capability, a system of taking a computer's processors, memory, and storage and splitting them into smaller units where each can be run with its own instance of the operating system and applications.
Bryan said IBM will also offer its WebSphere, DB2, and Tivoli management software for Linux on the new eServer systems, with IBM early versions of the software available at no charge for developers.
The p630 is available now at a starting price of $15,577.
While IBM is confident about its new server, HP can take cold comfort in its new position as leading Unix system seller. IDC claimed recently that HP overtook Sun Microsystems in the Unix market. IBM, however, is the global server market leader.