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IBM releases new entry-level server

By Ashlee Vance

(IDG) -- IBM Corp. has aimed at Dell Computer Corp. with the release of a new, low-cost server that IBM claims packs more processing power and storage than similar products from its rival.

The IBM eServer x200VL will come with an 850MHz Celeron processor and a 20G-byte IDE (Integrated Drive Electronics) hard drive. The system was designed to handle general purpose tasks or operate as a department network server. The product pricing starts at $699, according to a statement from IBM. INFOCENTER
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Along with the hardware, IBM will also include its IBM Director software for automating diagnostic and repair functions on its servers.

IBM pitted the x200VL against Dell's PowerEdge 500SC product, which costs $706, according to Dell's Web site, with an 800MHz Celeron and a 20G-byte hard drive after a $100 discount for small business buyers.

"We can meet Dell's price, but they cannot meet our technology," asserted Jim Gargan, vice president for IBM's eServer xSeries division.

IBM has pushed its Director software across its entire server line and claimed that not one of its competitors has put that type of technology in lower-end products.

"Over time, especially in Microsoft (Corp.) environments, you have thread mishandling and memory leaks and things like that," Gargan said. "As Intel (Corp.) servers age, they basically clog up, forcing an operator to turn them off and then back on."

IBM developed its Director software to help address these types of problems. If an issue can't be resolved without rebooting, the software will indicate to users the best time to shut a system down. The software monitors a system's performance, predicting when a problem is likely to occur and identifying low usage periods when it might be appropriate to turn a server off, the company said.

IBM also announced that its eServer x200 and x220 products will now be available with Intel Pentium III-S processors operating at up to 1.26 GHz, with 512K bytes of Level 2 cache.

In addition, IBM released version 1.1 of its iSeries Connect software, designed to provide a bridge between a company's internal business software and electronic commerce exchanges such as those supported by Ariba Inc. Users can publish existing catalogues and business applications developed in-house to business-to-business exchanges via the software, IBM said.

With the latest release, IBM made it possible to integrate iSeries Connect with its WebSphere 4.1 and 5.1 application server products. The upgraded product also provides a way for companies to set up secure private trading networks with partners, said Ian Jarman, iSeries product marketing manager. Version 1.1 of iSeries is priced at $1000 per processor.

Lastly, IBM announced its Fibre Tape Automation Adapter Card Option, which is designed to allow SCSI (Small Computer Systems Interface)-based storage systems to connect into Fibre Channel networks.

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