IBM Looks to Redefine Industry Standard Servers

Mike Vizard

Every time the term “industry standard servers” gets bandied about, there’s a natural assumption that the topic at hand is going to be about x86 servers. IBM wants to change that conversation by defining the term as two- and four-socket servers.

IBM today unveiled a four-socket PowerLinux 7R4 server, sporting up to 32 processors that only run Linux distributions from Red Hat or SuSE. According to Chuck Bryan, team leader for entry-level Power Systems, the end goal is make IBM Power series servers appealing to IT organizations that have standardized on Linux in standard two- and four-socket server racks.

As part of that effort, IBM is also making available versions of its IBM Cognos Business Intelligence and Postgres database software from EnterpriseDB that have both been optimized for Linux running on Power servers.

Bryan says the alliance with EnterpriseDB, which provides a Postgres database capable of running Oracle applications, is part of an ongoing campaign to shift Oracle applications to IBM hardware in light of the bad blood between Oracle and HP. Given customer concerns about the future of the Intel Itanium platform, EnterpriseDB provides an option for running Oracle applications on a Power Series server that fits in the same racks as an x86 server.

To make that option even more appealing, Bryan says IBM is committed to delivering Power Series servers at the same price points as comparable x86 servers as part of an effort to eliminate the cost of acquisition as a competitive issue. Couple that with a lower total cost of ownership, and IBM expects to gain share with Power series servers running high-end compute-intensive BI and database applications, says Bryan.


While it remains to be seen to what degree IBM can succeed in stemming the x86 tide, the one thing that is for certain is that after consolidating market share gains in the UNIX/RISC server space, the Power Series team at IBM is a lot more anxious to try its hand against all server competitors.



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