IBM ships Regatta Unix server

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IBM ships Regatta Unix server

IBM has announced the full availability of its eServer p690 "Regatta" server, setting the stage for fierce competition in the Unix server market.

Regatta is IBM's first system aimed directly at the market for high-end Unix servers priced between $1m (£686,000) and $5m.

In development for more than five years, Regatta is expected to trigger a huge battle for market share between Unix leader Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard (HP).

With Regatta, IBM has drawn on its expertise in mainframe computing to challenge rivals on power efficiency, performance and price, said IBM officials.

Regatta's launch also marks the introduction of IBM's Power4 microprocessor. The copper-based chip contains two processors, each running in excess of 1GHz.

Within Regatta, data flows between the memory cache and the Power4 chip at nearly 125Gbps, which is equal to the transfer of 25 full-length DVD films in a single second, according to IBM.

The chips' copper interconnects and silicon-on-insulator (SOI) technology enables Regatta to run cooler while consuming less power, said IBM officials.

So-called self-healing technology from IBM's Project eLiza has been incorporated into Regatta, giving the server certain internal failover capabilities in the event of system errors or component failures.

Early customers include clothes retailer Gap, which will use Regatta to run retail supply-chain software for its stores.

Until recently, experts said the Unix market was a two-horse race between IBM and Sun, which unveiled its Sun Fire 15K server, known as Starcat, during the same week that Regatta was announced in October 2000. Sun said it would begin shipping Starcat within weeks.

Since then, however, HP's year-old Superdome Unix server has made inroads into the market, according to analyst firm IDC. HP is now equal with Sun on total Unix revenue across all server markets, with a 28.5% share compared with Sun's 28.8%.

IBM, with its 20.9% share of the Unix market, now faces a three-way battle for Unix server domination in 2002.

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