IBM has added Wintel, Linux and Domino storage server appliances to the new eServer-branded product line launched last month.
Server appliances are purpose built computers for specific network jobs such as encrypting communications, storing files or video streaming. Hewlett Packard, Compaq and now IBM have followed pioneers Cobalt, Network Appliance and CacheFlow into the market.
IBM's latest machines include web hosting units such as the xSeries 130 (Windows), the xSeries 135 (Linux), and the xSeries 150. IBM claims its storage appliance has throughput of up to 44Mb per second. These are joined by the iSeries 400 model 270, a Lotus Domino server appliance and its higher powered cousin, the iSeries 400 model 820.
The x130 and x135 appliance servers are based on a 1U (1.75in high) rack server. The x130 also includes Web Server Accelerator software to allow it to cache static content in memory, while the x135 includes the IBM HTTP Server powered by Apache middleware.
The x150 is available as either a tower or rack model, providing storage at departmental as well as workgroup level. It can work in an Active Directory and DFS environment, and supports CIFS, HTTP, and NFS file formats.
Previously branded as the AS400 series, the new entry-level iSeries 400 model 270 Appliance Server for Domino is available rack-mounted or as a tower in either uni-processor or two-way configurations, supporting more than 5000 Domino mail and calendaring users.
The more powerful iSeries 440 model 720 is available in one-way, two-way or four-way processor configurations, and is claimed to be capable of supporting up to 10,000 mail and calendaring users.
Analysts say the new offerings fill a gap in IBM's product line-up. Mark Melenovsky, research director at analyst IDC, said: "With the appliance server market growing by more than a half every quarter, IBM has positioned these eServer appliances to address the explosive demand from businesses to build their internet infrastructures.
"While other vendors such as Cobalt [recently acquired by Sun Microsystems for £1.4bn] have built an effective brand image in the web-hosting market, IBM is aggressively filling out its appliance server offerings with an entire line of internally-designed servers."
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