Bull this week has launched its own line of Power5-based Escala servers, which run IBM’s AIX Unix variant and include some flourishes provided by Bull.
Since the mid-1990s, when IBM went to French server maker Group Bull to have the company engineer its entry and midrange SMP servers using 32-bit PowerPC processors, the two companies have been partners in the Unix server business. When IBM decided to design its own line of Power servers, when it moved to 64-bit PowerPC chips, Bull rebranded IBM gear as IBM had earlier rebranded Bull gear.
The Escala PL250R/T is equivalent to the IBM p5-520. The R/T means it is available in rack or tower configurations. The Escala PL450R/T is equivalent to the IBM p5-550, and the Escala PL850R and PL1650R are variants of the p5-570. IBM is offering the p5-570 as a machine that scales from 2 to 16 processors using 1.9GHz Power5 processor cores, and another that scales from one to eight processors using 1.5GHz cores (that’s called the p5-570 Express). Bull’s PL850R is equivalent to the p5-570 Express, while the PL1650R machine is equivalent to the plain vanilla p5-570.
As for the flourishes in the Bull Escala line, instead of selling IBM’s Shark and FastT arrays for its Unix servers, Bull has partnered with EMC to supply Symmetrix DMX and Clarrion CX disk arrays to its AIX customers. Bull also announced Version 4 of its own Application Rollover Facility high availability clustering software for the Escala servers, in conjunction with its Power5 rollout. The company also announced a special bundle of two Escala PL servers, one EMC disk array, and the Application Rollover Facility clustering software in configurations using two-, four-, or eight-way Escala machines as nodes in the cluster. Bull’s Power5 machines start shipping on September 1.