IBM releases Nehalem-based servers to channel

By Brett Winterford on Mar 31, 2009 12:12 PM
Filed under Hardware

IBM today released four model ranges of servers based on Intel's Nehalem processor.

IBM released two families of rack-based servers which share a common motherboard, the IBM System x3550 M2 (priced from AUD$4879 - AUD$8799 including tax) and the IBM System x3650 M2 (priced from AUD$5509 - AUD$10109 including tax).

Big Blue also announced a new two-socket blade for its Bladecenter chassis - the IBM BladeCentre HS22 (priced from AUD$3929 - AUD$4979 including tax).

And specifically for ISP and web hosting companies, IBM has released the iDataPlex dx360 M2, a rack-style server which leverages "radical new designs" around cooling and energy requirements.

Shaped like a rack server, the dx360 sits on a wider, shallower rack, allowing for greater density and therefore lower floor space.

It boasts a shorter channel from front to back to cool the rack and IBM claims that with rear-door heat extraction, it can actually remove more than 100 per cent of the heat generated by the rack.

Peter Hedges, manager of the technology and systems group for IBM Australia says the iDataplex series will only suit certain applications, such as service providers, as it does not boast the 'zero single point of failure' that a blade server configuration offers.

 "It addresses a smaller but rapidly growing section of the industry," he said.

The new servers are based on Intel's Xeon 5500 series of processor, code-named Nehalem. Rather than push for GHz gains, the Nehalem series of processors are focused on allowing for increased memory and energy efficiency to meet the needs of today's virtualised data centres.

Hedges said the x3650 rack server offers up to a 100 per cent increase in the amount of virtual workloads the machine can carry, while offering up to 50 per cent reductions in energy use.

"Virtualisation requires constant amounts of memory and requires higher levels of reliability functions to be built into the hardware," he said.

Beyond the processor itself, energy savings are achieved using new IBM power supplies, lower wattage capacitors and new counter-rotating fans within the machines.

The machines also feature altimeters (devices that detect altitude above sea level) to take into account atmospheric conditions.

Until now, servers have been provisioned with fans that work assuming the highest altitudes, where the atmosphere is the least dense. At lower altitudes, the fans in the devices have tended to run at higher speeds than necessary - consuming more power than necessary.

"In Sydney for example, it is a denser atmosphere at sea level," said Hedges. "The fans are moving a greater volume of air which has a greater cooling effect. With the introduction of an altimeter, the fans won't have to spin as fast at a lower altitude."

The vendor said it will release its "Express" line for distribution through the Australian channel post discussions with its distributors as to what "sweet spot" the channel is trying to sell into.

"These will be the same rack units as launched, but specs-wise will be optimised for supply to distribution," said Peter Hedges, manager of the technology and systems group for IBM Australia.

Hedges said some 'low-level' briefings with select channel partners have already begun.

 
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