IBM rolls out revamped iSeries

IBM Corp. on Monday announced a makeover of its iSeries line of servers, rolling out new high-end Power 4-based systems with significantly different price changes and options, and making the servers more capable participants in its company’s Computing On Demand initiative.

The new high-end 32-way Power 4 servers, called the eServer iSeries 870 and 825, are both capable of running multiple operating systems including the Linux, OS/400, Windows, and Unix. Big Blue also unveiled the iSeries 810 and 800 models aimed at small- and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) that support up to two processors and that will be priced at just under US$10,000 in their entry-level configurations.

Perhaps chief among the servers’ new capabilities is the On/Off Capacity Upgrade On Demand feature, which enables users to turn processors on and off as situational computing demands dictate and pay only for what they use. Users can choose from Temporary or Permanent Capacity Upgrade On Demand options, according to company officials.

Big Blue also rolled out an improved version of its WebSphere Application Server Express for iSeries, which is designed to help SMBs more easily build and manage Web sites. The updated software now supports all members of the iSeries family and not just selected models. Among its features WebSphere Express contains autonomic, self-configuring installation wizards that will be available only on the iSeries.

Also part of Monday’s announcements is new customized packaging and pricing options that company officials hope will make clearer the configuration choices that users have, company officials said.

The new Standard Edition of the servers supports a wider range of e-business applications and includes the ability to run multiple operating systems, the Capacity Upgrade On Demand capability, and dynamic logical partitioning. The Enterprise Edition contains the features of the Standard Edition along with bundled versions of DB2, WebSphere, Lotus, and Tivoli server software. The Enterprise package also offers free processor activation for Linux on the iSeries 870 and iSeries 890, and an integrated IBM eServer xSeries for Windows integration.

All of the new IBM iSeries models will be available on Feb. 21.

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