IBM has released a range of pre-packaged Linux clusters to be sold primarily to small to medium sized enterprises through the channel.
The low-cost IBM eServer Cluster 1300 will come pre-loaded with Linux and clustering software, plus a choice of other software which has been tested for Linux clusters.
Nick Davis, Linux solutions marketing manager for Europe, Middle East & Africa at IBM, commented: "Customers have said that they do not want to spend all their time plugging their systems together. They want them pre-packaged for quicker deployment.
"We are also offering Linux, a powerful operating system (OS) at a fraction of the cost of its Unix big brother."
Systems will initially be sold in clusters of eight, 16, 32 and 64 nodes, which Davis said were the most popular sizes. Systems of over 1,000 nodes have also been tested. Red Hat Linux 7.1 is available now, and Davis said that SuSE, Caldera and TurboLinux versions would be offered soon.
Dan Kuznetsky, programme vice president for software at analyst IDC, said: "The clustering is probably sound if it has been given the IBM stamp of approval. This announcement will make many firms more comfortable with the technology."
Along with the clustering software, some optional applications have been ported from IBM's AIX Unix environment.
They will be pre-installed when ordered and currently include IBM WebSphere for ecommerce; DB2 database; Sendmail's complete range of Linux messaging and routing software; and Warp Solutions' Transaction Session Manager for the routing of websites to back-end databases.
"My team has seen growth in Linux, especially as a server OS. In recent research involving about 350 firms on the demand and supply sides, almost a third had Linux installed. While Microsoft .Net or Windows 2000 were in their plans, Linux was too," Kuznetsky added.
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