IBM has boosted the speed and reliability of its Unix server system line with the eServer pSeries 615.
The p615, which replaces IBM's ageing 1-2 processor p610, is the last of IBM's pSeries RISC (reduced instruction set computer) systems to be upgraded to the Power4+ line of processors.
IBM has been working these chips into its Unix server line since last November, when it released the midrange p650 system.
"Our entry systems were getting a little bit long in the tooth, to be honest," said IBM director of eServer strategy Jim McGaughan. "Now we have a portfolio [of systems] that are all on the same technology."
Unlike its predecessor, the p615 will let users hot swap PCI (Peripheral Component Interconnect) peripherals and turn off damaged or malfunctioning PCI slots without stopping the system.
The p615 will also boast "chipkill memory", a technique whereby the system's memory is flushed in the event of a memory error.
Unlike IBM's more expensive offerings, however, the p615 will not support logical partitioning, so customers looking to run more than one operating system at the same time will have to look at the p630, IBM's next model up.
The systems could boost IBM's appeal in small and medium-sized businesses, especially in industries such as retail, where IT needs to create a single system configuration and replicate it on a large number of machines, said Illuminata analyst Gordon Haff.
The systems will run either IBM's AIX 5L 5.1 or AIX 5L 5.2 operating system, depending on customer preference.
In its least expensive configuration, the p615 will list for $5,740. At that price, IBM will deliver a single-processor system with 1Gbyte of memory and 36Gbytes of disk space, one 10/100M bps Ethernet port and one Gigabit Ethernet port.
The system, which is available immediately, can support as many as eight ultraSCSI (Small Computer System Interface) disc drives.
Robert McMillan writes for IDG News Service