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IBM p570 Server Wins Datamation Product of the Year Award

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Recently, Datamation readers voted the IBM p 570, a mid-range UNIX/Linux server, as the Product of the Year in the enterprise server category. When it was launched last May, the updated p 570 featuring the POWER6 processor received a lot of praise for its performance. After all, at 4.7 GHz, the new processor was twice as fast as the POWER5, and in benchmark tests, the server blows away the competition by margins as high as 3:1.

However, while speed and performance continue to be important to customers, many enterprises cite the server’s flexibility, availability, and virtualization capabilities as equally important in their decision to choose the p 570.

When asked to name the number one feature that sets the p 570 apart from the competition, Scott Handy, vice president of worldwide marketing and strategy for IBM Power Systems, pointed to the p 570’s flexibility. For example, the server’s modular architecture allows smaller organizations to start with just one 4-unit core and add to it as their needs change.

“Customers love starting at a reasonable price point and having the ability to add modules as their business grows,” said Handy.

HealthTrans, a Colorado-based pharmacy benefits administrator that processes more than 90 million claims each year, is one customer attracted to this type of flexibility. They deployed two p 570s in July 2007, primarily for use as database servers for Oracle and Sybase IQ Data Warehouse. The company plans to increase its use of p 570s over the coming year.

According to Duane Green, HealthTrans Director of Systems Operations, the company was attracted to the server for its “price/performance ratio, as well as expandability. We are a high-growth OLTP environment and primarily look for reliability and scalability in any solutions we deploy.”

The p 570 is also flexible in terms of its ability to handle a variety of workloads. Many organizations purchase the p 570 specifically with consolidation in mind. The server is attractive to those customers because it boasts best-in-class performance on a variety of different benchmark tests, including those measuring transaction processing, Java operations, floating-point calculations, and integer calculations. “As customers do server consolidations, it is very important to them that the p570 is not sub-optimized for a particular type of workload,” Handy said. “We can provide optimal performance for every workload they want to move onto that server.”

Those interested in server consolidation also appreciate the p 570’s virtualization capabilities. According to IBM, approximately 70 percent of p 570 customers order their servers with the virtualization option, the highest percentage for any IBM product where virtualization must be ordered as a separate option. “In the past twelve months, we’ve seen the power-saving advantages of virtualization move up to number one or two among customers’ reasons for choosing the p 570,” Handy said.

Green reported that HealthTrans has been using these virtualization features to provide flexibility and a consolidated view of IT resources. In addition, the p 570’s Live Partition Mobility feature, which allows users to move virtualized workloads from one server to another with no downtime, has helped improve availability for HealthTrans’ customers and benefits processors.

With all of these features to the p 570’s credit, IBM’s Handy said he was “honored, but not surprised” by the p 570’s Product of the Year win. He predicts that the server will continue to help IBM gain market share in the UNIX server market.

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