Renewing its campaign to lure customers away from Hewlett-Packard and Sun Microsystems in the multi-billion-dollar server market, IBM rolled out a new machine tailored for the Linux operating system.
The OpenPower 710 is a thin, one to two processor, 64-bit rack system designed to meet the computing needs of small to large organizations in government, telecommunications and financial services markets. Its dimensions are 2U (1U = 1.75 inches) and it is powered by a 1.65 GHz Power5 microprocessor.
According to Joe Doria, program director for Linux on Power at IBM, the company is looking to hit a sweet spot in what IDC said could be a $5 billion market in 2005: Linux-based servers running two processors.
OpenPower 710 is the little brother to the OpenPower 720, a four-way system IBM launched last year in order to appeal to larger companies interested in running machines tuned for Linux.
OpenPower is another facet in IBM's strategy of finding more placement for the Linux operating system on its servers. The 710 joins 64-bit Linux products such as the eServer i5, p5 and BladeCenter JS20 systems. More broadly, the Armonk, N.Y., company's Power architecture is seeping into consumer products as well as supercomputers.
Doria said IBM has high hopes for the 710, given software vendors' attraction to developing for the 720. Since the 720 was launched last September, more than 250 applications have been ported to OpenPower, bringing the total to more than 900, he said.
Both the 710 and 720 support Red Hat and SUSE Linux and can run IBM's latest virtualization software, including micro-partitioning, which allows 10 machines to run independent of one another on a separate chip.
Doria also said IBM believes it will create further separation from the server pack with its price points for the 710. A one-way machine starts at $3,449; a two way will set a business back $3999.
If customers want to add advanced virtualization capabilities, it will cost them an extra $1,500. In essence, an outfit would pay $5,000 for a single machine with decent power and features. The 710 will be available Feb. 18.
Also, Doria said IBM is offering IBM OpenPower Consolidation Express for small and medium-sized customers to consolidate workloads normally deployed as separate file or Web servers onto a single OpenPower 710. Express is also available on the 720.