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IBM unveils Linux Power servers

The OpenPower systems, starting at $5,000, are based on the Power5 chip and will run SuSE or Red Hat versions of Linux.

IBM introduced on Monday its inexpensive OpenPower line of servers based on Power5 microprocessors and the Linux operating system.

As previously reported, the OpenPower 720 has features that are usually seen in higher-end systems. The 64-bit Power5 platform is scalable, IBM said.

Initially, the OpenPower 720 will come with either 1.5GHz or 1.65GHz Power5 microprocessors. These systems will be available in a four-way rack or a tower set-up with maximum memory of 64GB. They support SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 9 and Red Hat's Enterprise Linux AS 3 Update 3.

The low-cost machine is expected to compete with Sun Microsystems' lower-end Unix servers based on the UltraSparc processor and with servers from a number of manufacturers that use x86 chips such as Intel's Xeon and Advanced Micro Devices' Opteron.

Previously, IBM's Power servers were bracketed with higher-end systems based on Sun's UltraSparc chip or Intel's Itanium processor.

The OpenPower 720 will begin shipping in the United States on Sept. 24, priced at $5,000 and up, IBM said. The OpenPower virtualization option, a component of IBM's Virtualization Engine for managing workloads, will go on sale in the last quarter of this year at a starting price of $2,000.

In addition, Big Blue said it plans to release a two-way version of the OpenPower system in the first half of 2005.