Tech Industry

IBM calls up new Linux server

Aimed at the telecommunications industry, the new eServer marks Big Blue's bid to increase sales in a market that has traditionally been dominated by Sun Microsystems.

IBM is making a new call for customers in the telecommunications arena.

The company on Tuesday announced a new eServer based on the Linux operating system for the telecommunications industry. At the same time, Big Blue introduced a new Linux Service Provider Lab to test Linux software for telecommunications companies.

IBM hopes the new eServer will increase sales in a market that has traditionally been dominated by Sun Microsystems. IBM's latest product is priced lower than its current telecom servers in a move to attract telecommunications companies, which have been cutting capital spending.

The new x343 machine, which in a typical configuration carries a price tag of about $10,000, was created to challenge Sun on price, according to IBM. The company sells pSeries Unix servers to the telecom market, but those machines cost thousands of dollars more than the x343.

Linux, a clone of Unix invented by Linus Torvalds and developed by a host of programmers worldwide, is relatively easy to move from one processor to another. Versions of Linux run on dozens of processors.

IBM's new server uses an Intel telecom server kit, announced last May. Under that program, Intel builds the server hardware, and companies such as IBM purchase and redistribute the hardware after adding their own software and other custom parts.

A basic x343 server will include a pair of 1.26GHz Pentium III chips from Intel, 2GB of RAM, a 36GB SCSI hard drive and redundant power supplies. The server goes on sale at the end of April.

IBM also aims to boost its telecom business with the new Linux Service Provider Lab.

The lab, located in Oregon, will open next month. It will allow software developers to test their applications on Linux operating systems and hardware such as the new x343 server.

IBM has also been working on a version of Linux with new features tailored for the telecom market, the company said.

In 2000, IBM underscored the importance of Linux to its business by pledging to invest $1 billion in the operating system.