IBM Corp is looking to lower the cost of entry into its SP parallel processors with three new packages aimed at internet service providers and web site hosters. The systems, due to be launched next month, will cut the entry-level cost of the SP down to around $150,000, and are being launched to capitalize on […]
IBM Corp is looking to lower the cost of entry into its SP parallel processors with three new packages aimed at internet service providers and web site hosters. The systems, due to be launched next month, will cut the entry-level cost of the SP down to around $150,000, and are being launched to capitalize on the publicity IBM’s been gaining from hosting the web site for the Nagano Winter Olymic Games. That site, supported by four SPs, was built to cope with up to 100 million hits per hour, and after some key events IBM says it’s been seeing rates of up to 145 million hits per hour. IBM’s story, as part of a new promotion alongside the launch in March, will be that it has the most scalable web server around. The three configurations include a server aimed at higher education market, a server consolidation model and a network computing/business intelligence system. The academic model comes with a tall frame, two 166 MHz 604e processors and a switch, for $150,000 – a 30% saving over current pricing, says IBM. The server consolidation package comes with two 200MHz 604e eight way nodes, and costs $250,000 without a switch, $315,000 with. The network computing model is also $315,000 for a similar configuration. The following month, IBM promises to upgrade the power of its SP nodes – the previous upgrades were last September (CI No 3,238), – and introduce the GPFS General Parallel File System it started talking about around the same time, which will enable files to span multiple disks and multiple nodes through a single system image, useful for users with very large file systems. It also intends to merge its HACMP high availability clustering software with HACMP/ES Enhanced Scalability, so that clustering is the same for both low and high-end systems. The transition to nodes supporting PCI will also begin. And later on in the year, IBM will add software and hardware to its RS/6000 12-way S70 symmetrical multiprocessor so that it can be integrated within an SP system, including systems management software and a direct connection to the SP switch. That will give some 64-bit capabilities to the S2 line ahead of the long-awaited introduction of 64-bit nodes themselves, some time in 1999. IBM now boasts 3,700 SP installations, and 35,000 nodes worldwide. It says that the market mix has now reached 80% commercial, 20% technical, with the commercial systems now reaching up into the 100 node range. SP sales have been growing at 30% every quarter for the last 11 consecutive quarters.