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Big Blue unveils two low-power servers

The servers were developed under a pair of IBM-wide initiatives, which, ultimately, could give it a competitive advantage against rivals like Sun Microsystems.

IBM introduced a pair of servers this week that are less power-hungry.

The new single- and dual-processor machines, announced Tuesday and dubbed eServer p610 6C1 and 6E1, will use low-power processors and incorporate a new internal RAID (Redundant Array of Independent Disks) system that IBM says is more power efficient.

A RAID system basically allows a server to treat a number of separate hard drives as a single disk. The new server relocates the system to inside its own chassis, doing away with separate power supplies and cooling fans, among other things.

The servers, which use IBM Power3-III chips and start out at $5,995, were developed under a pair of company-wide initiatives. They include Eliza, which aims to reduce the difficulty of administering servers, and a separate initiative to reduce power consumption of IBM computers.

Ultimately, the initiatives seek to reduce the overall cost of owning and operating IBM servers, a possible competitive advantage against IBM rivals such as Sun Microsystems. But it is unlikely that corporate technology managers, a conservative bunch by nature, would switch brands just because a new server is lower power than one they were already using.

Still, IBM will present the argument that its new servers are less costly to operate over time. It will cite, among other things, a side-by-side comparison based on a maxed out configuration of the p610 with internal RAID and a Sun 280R with Sun's external StorEdge A1000 RAID system.

IBM said its p610 required up to 450 watts of power per hour, while dissipating a maximum of 1,536 BTUs. Meanwhile, it said Sun's 280R required up to 810 watts per hour, while dissipating a maximum of 3,140 BTUs and its A1000 RAID system required up to 260 watts per hour, while dissipating up to 1,092 BTUs.