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IBM Begins Limited Shipments of Next Gen IA Servers

IBM Corp. declared it is shipping limited quantities of its next generation of Intel architecture servers -- just in time for a self-imposed deadline of calendar year 2001.

IBM made the announcement Thursday, Dec. 27. In November, IBM said it would begin shipping the first members of its IBM eServer x360 family in early December. The timing was pegged to availability of early release versions of Intel Corp.'s Xeon MP (for multiprocessing) chips. Those chips are also known by their "Foster MP" codename.

The full release of the Xeon MP is expected in the first quarter of 2002.

Upon general availability of the Xeon MP processors, the eServer x360 will be configurable in up to 16-processor systems of either 32-bit or 64-bit Intel processors. For now, the x360 is available as a four-processor system.

The servers will ship in four-processor blocks or bricks, which work as standalone servers and fit into 3U of standard rack space. Up to four of the blocks can be connected through a high-speed scalability port, creating a 16-processor logical machine. IBM offers a separate, rack-mountable I/O unit called the RXE100.

The x360 systems were at one time known by the codename for the chipset they are based on, "Summit."

IBM's introduction of the x360 increases competition in the market for contemporary Intel-based systems with more than eight processors. Unisys Corp. reignited that market in late 1999 with the introduction of the 32-way-capable ES7000.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.