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IBM updates low-end Intel servers

Big Blue introduces a new server for very small businesses and improves two other single-processor machines geared for similar customers.

IBM introduced a new server Tuesday for very small businesses and improved two other single-processor machines geared for similar customers.

Unlike the rest of its xSeries line of Intel-based servers, the new x100 will be sold only by IBM reseller partners and over IBM's Web site, not by its own sales force, said Stuart McRae, worldwide marketing manager for xSeries. With a Celeron processor, the system has a starting price of $599; a dual-core Pentium 4 lifts the price to $999.

In addition, IBM upgraded its x206 and its rack-mountable cousin, the x306. Differences of the new models, the x206m and x306m, include the addition of an integrated management controller, redundant and hot-swappable power supplies so the components can be changed without shutting the server down, and, in the x206m, the addition of a fourth hard drive to make higher-end RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disk) technology more feasible, McRae said. The x306m also now supports Serial Attached SCSI, or SAS, drives.

The x206m has an entry price of $679, but dual-core models with hot-swap drives and 1GB of memory cost about $1,700, McRae said. The x306m starts at $1,099 and moves to $1,759 for a dual-core Pentium 4. The x206m and x306m will be sold by IBM salespeople as well as partners, he added.

The products are geared for small and medium-size businesses. It's a massive but hard-to-reach market, one many companies are trying to attract. Others include Hewlett-Packard and Dell.

Though the servers use processors geared for personal computers, they also come with some server features, including error-correcting memory, more stringent testing, integration with backup devices, and certification with software such as Microsoft's Small Business Server.