Amid rumor and speculation, IBM announced Monday the Regatta Power4-based, 32-way server. The iSeries Model 890 nearly doubles the processing power of its previous top-of-the-line system, the i840.
In addition, IBM debuted its highly anticipated upgrade to OS/400, V5R2, which is said to focus on simplifying server management.
Monday's announcement comes months earlier than expected. According to some experts, the move is an attempt by IBM to get users to move directly on to V5R2 -- and to give its business partners three full quarters to sell its new high-end box and hopefully make up for a significant drop in iSeries sales during the first half of the year.
According to one user, V5R2 is IBM's attempt to make itself more competitive in the higher-end server market, where it often faltered in benchmarks, compared to some of its rivals.
"I think that it's the marketplace that forced IBM's hand in V5R2, [and the early release of the i840]" said Steve Croy, manager of technology, Seta Corp., Boca Raton, Fla. "I think this is the direct result of IBM needing to implement faster, bigger hardware so they could compete in the market. It will probably help prevent current users from moving away."
According to IBM, the new i890 can support up to 32 OS/400 and Linux dynamic logical partitions, allowing businesses to reduce cost and complexity by consolidating multiple workloads onto a single, easy-to-manage server, the company said. Dynamic partitions allow customers to put the horsepower of the server where it's needed most without costly downtime for rebooting.
IBM also announced that Capacity Upgrade on Demand -- a key datacenter technology that allows customers to immediately add extra processing power for new workloads or spikes in demand -- will now be standard on all iSeries 830 4-way models and above. Customers will now be able to pay for the capacity they need, when they need it. For example, a 4-way customer can add one processor at a time as needed to grow to a 5- or 6-way and so on.
In addition, IBM introduced Enterprise Identity Mapping (EIM), a technology developed under the company's Project eLiza initiative, which simplifies the authentication process for users when they access applications that run across multiple servers. EIM associates and tracks a user's multiple security identities across a network, enabling programmers to write simpler and more secure applications without forcing users to sign on and authenticate to each server in a network, the company said.
Initial shipments of the i890 with OS/400 V5R2 will begin on June 14, with worldwide general availability of V5R2 in August 2002.
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