February 13, 2002

IBM introduces energy-saving server running Linux

Author: JT Smith

IBM today introduced an
energy-conserving IBM eServer[1] that consumes up to 57 percent less
electricity and generates up to 63 percent less heat than the comparable
Sun solution.[2] Designed for customer flexibility, the eServer runs both
UNIX(R) and Linux[3] and costs substantially less than the Sun offering.[4]

IBM eServer lowers total cost of ownership with Project eLiza
self-management features that enable the kind of "hands-off" operation
usually associated with high-end IBM eServer systems like the pSeries 690
"Regatta" and zSeries mainframe.

"More than ever, our customers are interested in lowering their total cost
of ownership," said Val Rahmani, general manager, IBM eServer pSeries.
"IBM's new UNIX server combines energy efficiency and enterprise-class
management features with ultra-fast performance to provide customers with
the ideal synthesis of power and affordability."

A new addition to the IBM eServer p610 family, the system is a powerful
one- or two-way machine ideal for data sensitive applications such as
e-business, customer relationship management, enterprise resource planning
and sales force automation. It was developed as part of IBM's company-wide
initiative announced last fall to address the energy needs of computing.

Enterprise-Class Storage Technology
Based on an elegant mainframe-inspired design, the IBM eServer supports
sophisticated storage technology, called RAID 5, inside the server cabinet
rather than in a separate storage enclosure. This design breakthrough
eliminates the need for the power supplies and cooling fans associated with
a separate box, dramatically reducing energy consumption and conserves
floor space.

Crucial to e-business infrastructures, RAID, Redundant Array of Independent
Disks, allows a large number of disks to be treated by a system as a single
storage device. The main benefits are improved data recovery if one or
more of the disks in the array fails and potentially improved disk
performance.

RAID 5 offers the best blend of performance, data recovery and resource
usage of any of the RAID architectures and is especially important to
e-business and other transaction processing applications, large databases,
and to other customers with a high sensitivity to data loss. Customers
wanting to implement RAID 5 on an entry level Sun or HP system [5] must
first purchase an external storage device.

This presents several disadvantages.

The external storage device takes up valuable space on the floor or in the
storage rack. Having an external storage device adds considerably to noise
levels and to electrical requirements. Not having an external RAID system
leaves the external SCSI controller free to connect to other peripherals
and storage devices. A full hardware solution, like the IBM RAID
implementation, provides higher performance levels than a software
implementation, which can place increased demands on the system processor.

Compared to Sun's 280R with StorEdge A1000 Workgroup, the IBM RAID
solution:[6]

  • Transfers data from disk to server four times faster[7]
  • Needs no external box (no additional power requirements, no external
    cabling)
  • Is quieter[8]
  • Leaves external SCSI connector available for use
  • Can be implemented in tower and rack configurations

The IBM eServer contains up to 291 GB of internal disk storage, twice the
capacity as the Sun Fire 280R, which holds a maximum of 146.8 GB.

The IBM eServer also features a balanced design based on copper
microprocessors, which require less power than competing Sun processors.[9]

Project eLiza Manageability Features
IBM Project eLiza technologies, unique to IBM servers, enable the system to
dramatically reduce downtime. These technologies include First Failure Data
Capture, which is designed to keep a running log of all system errors.
IBM eServer includes Light Path Diagnostics, sets of LED lights that make
systems management easier by flashing red if components are not performing
optimally. A dedicated service processor monitors the overall health of
the system and is designed to detect potential problems before they occur.

The IBM eServer is also equipped with wireless systems management features
allowing administrators to easily manage servers using handheld PDAs.

Operating System Flexibility
The IBM eServer p610 runs AIX 4.3.3, AIX 5L and Linux. AIX offers the
scalability, performance, reliability and security needed to accommodate
demanding e-business workloads. AIX features a strong affinity with Linux,
allowing customers to build and run many popular Linux applications on AIX.

As part of its effort to improve the interoperability between AIX and
Linux, IBM has ported a collection of Open Source and GNU software tools
from the Linux world and bundled them into a toolbox for AIX users. This
toolbox opens up a broad range of Linux applications, development tools,
and utilities to AIX users. For Linux application developers, it
introduces an easy way to target new opportunities for their software on
AIX.

The IBM eServer system's advanced features and attractive price point make
the server an ideal solution for ISVs and other solutions creators seeking
a 64-bit development platform for AIX applications.

The IBM eServer p610 Model 6C1 and 6E1 start at $5,995. The system is
available in rackmounted or tower versions. Planned availability is
February 22, 2002.

[1] The IBM eServer brand consists of the established IBM e-business logo
with the following descriptive term "server'' following it. IBM and the
e-business logo are trademarks of IBM Corporation in the United States
and/or other countries.

[2] Comparison is based on maximum configurations of the p610 with
internal RAID and Sun 280R with a StorEdge A1000 Workgroup. According to
the pSeries Site and Hardware Planning Information Document (SA38-0508-13),
available "http://www.ibm.com,"http://www.ibm.com, the p610 requires a
maximum of 450 Watts and dissipates a maximum of 1,536 BTUs per hour.

According to the Sun 280R Server Owner's Guide, January 2001, Revision A
(which can be found in Technical Documentation on http://www.sun.com), the
280R consumes a maximum of 810 Watts per hour (AC power) and dissipates a
maximum of 3,140 BTUs / hour. According to the Sun StorEdge A1000 and D1000
Installation, Operations, and Services Manual (which can be found in the
Technical Documentation on http://www.sun.com), the A1000 consumes a
maximum of 260 Watts per hour and dissipates a maximum of 1,092 BTUs per
hour. The combination of the Sun Fire 280R and A1000 consumes up to 1,070
Watts and dissipates up to 4,232 BTUs per hour.

[3] SuSE Linux Enterprise Server Version 7.

[4] p610 with 1 333MHz processor, 2 Ethernet ports, 1 x 36 GB disk, 1 GB
of memory, internal RAID 5 with 4 18 GB hot swappable disks, $17,175. Sun
280 R with 1 900 MHz processor, 2 Ethernet ports, 1 x 36 GB disk, 1 GB of
memory, and A1000 storage device with 4 18 GB hot swappable disks, $20,185.
Sun pricing available at http://store.sun.com.

[5] Entry level Sun and HP systems defined as Sun 22R and 280R and HP A400
and A500.

[6] p610 information according to the pSeries Site and Hardware Planning
Information Document (SA38-0508-13), available "http://www.ibm.com,"
http://www.ibm.com, A1000 information according to the Sun StorEdge A1000
and D1000 Installation, Operations, and Services Manual (which can be found
in the Technical Documentation on "http://www.sun.com)."http://www.sun.com
).

[7] IBM p610 drives are Ultra3 SCSI (160MB/sec) vs SUN A1000 with Ultra
SCSI (40MB/sec) drives, 128MB cache on IBM FC 2498 vs 24 MB cache on Sun.
p610 information according to the pSeries Site and Hardware Planning
Information Document (SA38-0508-13), available "http://www.ibm.com,"
http://www.ibm.com, A1000 information according to the Sun StorEdge A1000
and D1000 Installation, Operations, and Services Manual (which can be found
in the Technical Documentation on "http://www.sun.com)."

[8] According to the pSeries Site and Hardware Planning Information
Document (SA38-0508-13), the p610 operates at 6.4 bels. According to the
Sun 280R Server Owner's Guide, January 2001, Revision A (which can be found
in Technical Documentation on http://www.sun.com), the 280R operates at 6.9
bels. According to the Sun StorEdge A1000/ D1000 Datasheet (which can be
found in the product section on http://www.sun.com), the A1000 operates at
6.6 bels. The combination of the Sun Fire 280R and A1000 operates at 13.5
bels. This combination operates at 204% of the noise level of the p610.

[9] According to the pSeries 610 Models 6C1 and 6E1 Technical Overview,
the POWER3-II processor consumes a maximum of 42 Watts per hour running
at450 MHz. According to the UltraSPARC III Specifications (which can be
found on http://www.sun.com), the UltraSPARC III dissipates a maximum of 65
Watts per hour (AC power) running at 900 MHz.

IBM, the e-business logo, zSeries, Project eLiza, Light Path Diagnostics,
AIX, AIX 5L, and pSeries are trademarks of IBM Corporation in the United
States and/or other countries.

UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries
licensed exclusively through The Open Group.

Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvalds.

All other company, product and service names are trademarks or registered
trademarks of their respective companies.

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