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IBM ups chip power, adds virtualisation

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IBM is bringing its Power6 microprocessor-based technology to small and medium-sized customers and delivering new virtualisation offerings designed to help those customers consolidate server capacity, save energy and more effectively manage their IT costs. 

A "virtualised" approach to computing is designed to allow corporations around the world to reduce energy consumption by as much as 80%, better manage system growth and achieve total cost of ownership reductions of up to 72%.
Virtualisation technology allows multiple server functions to run on fewer servers. For example, one server could run many operating systems and simultaneously host several business applications. Deploying these virtualisation capabilities can help lower IT costs and business risks, increase efficiency and flexibility, simplify deployment and management, enhance overall business resilience and enable new forms of innovation.
Addressing these requirements, IBM has introduced new virtualisation platform – PowerVM Express – specially made to enable customers to better manage their IT costs, drive maximum energy efficiency and increase resource utilisation. PowerVM provides virtualisation solutions for the broadest range of operating systems in the industry, including AIX – IBM's Unix operating system, Linux, and i5/OS for System i customers.
When combined with new Power6 microprocessor-based System p servers and BladeCenter servers – designed specifically for small and medium-sized businesses – customers can create up to 160 virtual partitions in a single system, dramatically improving the utilisation of the servers.
"Virtualisation has typically been in the domain of large enterprises. Today we aim to simplify the adoption of virtualisation technologies, making it available to small and medium-sized businesses," says Daniel Amorim, brand manager: IBM Power Systems, South Africa. "The capabilities we deliver when combining IBM's leadership virtualisation software and Power6 technology in our new offerings take us beyond just world-class performance and allow us to help clients build more efficient businesses by saving time, space and money."
PowerVM software, formerly known as Advanced Power Virtualisation (APV) is now available in Express, Standard and Enterprise Editions. New to all three PowerVM editions is a feature at no additional charge, that allows System p servers to run Linux x86 binary applications unmodified without recompilation, in addition to Unix and Linux on Power applications.
According to IDC, spending on virtualisation software and services is expected to exceed $15-billion worldwide by 2011, up from $6,5-billion in 2006. Forrester says that awareness of server virtualisation by companies with 500-999 employees jumped from 60% to 86% in one year.
Many of the attributes of virtualisation technology, a mainstay in many IBM large systems for more than 40 years, are now being utilised by customers large and small. Nearly 70% of IBM POWER6 processor-based System p servers use PowerVM technology today. In addition to systems management and cost benefits, the PowerVM platform provides customers with new options to improve system and application availability, allowing reductions or elimination of planned downtime.
In addition to PowerVM, IBM also announced:
* Two new Power6 processor-based UNIX servers, the entry-level System p 520 Express and entry-level System p 550 Express, both built to handle mission-critical business workloads and both expected to entice additional Solaris and HP/UX customers to switch to IBM;
* A new release of the i5/OS operating system, IBM's flagship operating environment for small and medium-size clients using the System i platform with new support for the IBM BladeCenter® POWER6-based JS22 blade server;
* First-time support for the BladeCenter JS22 and JS21 Express blade servers with AIX and Linux in the breakthrough office-friendly BladeCenter S chassis, designed for smaller firms and distributed enterprises; and
* A new x86 Server Consolidation Factory offering, built on the success of previous IBM Migration Factory offerings, designed to help customers migrate from competitive x86 platforms to IBM System p with the new PowerVM virtualisation software.