San Diego, CALIF. — Cynthia Flash reports that IBM Corp. added to its arsenal of server appliances by announcing four new machines to compete in the growing market for specialized Web hosting, storage, and application servers.
The four new server appliances are part of IBM’s eServer line, which the company announced earlier this month to bring all its server products under one brand name.
The new appliances include the x130 Windows Web-hosting appliance; the x135 Linux Web-hosting appliance; the x150 storage appliance; and the i270 and i820 servers for Lotus Domino.
The company also added features to its eServer iSeries line, which is the new name for its AS/400 server. The iSeries features include Connect for iSeries, a software package to connect iSeries machines.
“Capacity Upgrade on Demand” is a new function that allows companies to buy extra processors within an IBM server and activate them when needed.
Some iSeries models are designed for racks. The products will be available between December and February.
IBM, with its iSeries features, is targeting customers who have IT needs, but who don’t have large IT staffs. “They need information technology to run their business, but information technology isn’t their business,” said Drew Flaada, director of products marketing and management. Such customers include those in the manufacturing, distribution, and health-care sectors, he said.
With its new server appliances, IBM joins Dell Computer Corp., Compaq Computer Corp., Network Appliance Inc. and Cobalt Networks Inc. in the growing field of companies offering specialized server appliances.
IBM in April announced the Netfinity A100 Web-hosting appliance with Microsoft Corp.
The company added to the selection after customers said they wanted more, said Brian Sanders, IBM’s xSeries solutions and software marketing manager. “They’re pre-configured, pre-tuned,” he said. “They’re up and running. New generation businesses liked that idea.”
Customers like the appliances – priced from $4,000 to $35,000 – because they can literally plug them into their existing systems and they’ll work with little support. That way, technical support staff members can focus their time on other projects the company needs, Sanders said.
Mark Melenovsky, server research manager for International Data Corp., Framingham, Mass., said companies are moving to appliance servers to streamline their operations. “As a data center or service provider, all you have to do is plug them into your network and reduce [information service] time,” he said.
Melenovsky said some customers, mainly Web hosting companies, Internet service providers, and dot-coms, are buying hundreds of Web server appliances to fill out their infrastructure.
IDC estimates the $16 billion appliance server market is growing at more than 50 percent a quarter.
“All the server vendors realize there’s opportunity there,” Melenovsky said. “If they want to grow their business they need cutting edge products.”