20 January 2003 IBM has announced price cuts of up to 80% on a new range of its iSeries server, the mid-range server formerly known as the
In addition, IBM will bundle a wider range of software with the machine and offer more flexible pricing, including the ability to decrease as well as increase microprocessor power using IBM’s Capacity Upgrade on Demand (CUoD) technology.
The biggest savings will be made by users of the old AS/400’s green screen-based software. A more typical price cut will be in the order of between 15% and 20%, said Henrik Schlegel, vice president of iSeries sales in Europe.
The iSeries will be bundled with a copy of WebSphere Express, a version of the popular application server intended for mid-market customers, as well as Tivoli systems management tools and IBM’s DB2 database.
Users will also be able to run Linux partitions on the machines to handle functions such as file and print serving using the commonly used Samba Linux utility that emulates Microsoft Windows’ file and print serving utility. Up to 10 Linux partitions can be run per processor.
Schlegel believes that Linux will become increasingly popular on the iSeries for running such applications and will displace the use of Microsoft Windows, which has run on a built-in PC server on the iSeries for a number of years, on the grounds of cost. Originally, the Windows server was included on the iSeries to help bring the iSeries more into the orbit of mainstream computing.
According to Schlegel, the iSeries price cuts have been made possible as a result of economies generated in the design and manufacturing process of the hardware, with the iSeries and pSeries Unix machines now sharing about 85% of components.
The new iSeries servers are based on 64-bit Power4 microprocessors.
IBM claims that it will invest more than $500 million in the iSeries during the next two years. The money will be spent on research and development, marketing and programs intended to persuade independent software vendors (ISVs) to port their software to the iSeries platform.
The iSeries is in need of a kick-start after sales fell by some 13% during 2002, partly as a result of the IT spending downturn, but also, said Schlegel, because customers have held back on spending pending the introduction of the new machines.
Prices will start at $9,995 (€9,375).