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IBM server grows in scale

IBM will place more emphasis on selling larger and more expensive versions of the 12-processor-capable RS/6000 for vertical applications.

The new RS/6000 server to be unveiled by IBM (IBM) Monday will allow users to take advantage of 12 processors at once, a new high for the server line, and one that fits in with IBM's upscale plans for the platform.

IBM will place more emphasis on selling larger and more expensive versions of the RS/6000 for vertical applications, such as data mining and online transaction processing, said sources close to the company. Like other Unix server lines, the RS/6000 is steadily losing ground to less expensive Windows NT servers in the low end of the market. Nevertheless, growth appears to yet exist in the high end of the market.

Along with the focus on vertical markets will come a drastic reduction in the number of models available in the line, said a source close to the company.

The S70 server, which was code-named Raven, will accommodate from 4 to 12 PowerPC RS64 64-bit processors. Until now, the processor has only been used in IBM's AS/400 line.

Prior to the S70, the symmetric multiprocessing capabilities of the RS/6000 line extended to eight processors, said a source close to the company. Expanding the number of processors will increase the server's power and, hence, its appeal for computing-intensive departments.

The server will also come with a new 64-bit version of the AIX operating system, numbered AIX 4.3.

IBM will primarily target the line at vertical uses within the scientific and financial markets. Among specific uses, RS/6000 servers will be aimed at firms performing computer-aided design, scientific research involving intensive number crunching, online transaction processing, and data mining.

These markets have been the focus of the RS/6000 line before. The difference now seems to be one of degree: the emphasis on specific uses will be heightened.