IBM claims to have revolutionised the x86 platform with the launch of its new eX5 servers at CeBIT.
The company says the new systems shatter technical barriers to offer dramatically more scalable, workload-tuned computing on the x86 platform and are the result of a three-year engineering effort to improve the economics of operating enterprise-sized, x86-based systems.
The new systems ride a wave of market share growth for IBM. IBM gained more revenue share than any of the major x86 server vendors in each quarter of 2009 and now holds nearly 20% share, a 3.5 point year-over-year gain, according to IDC. IBM also significantly outperformed the blade market in 4Q09, recording 64% revenue growth in blades and gaining 5.7 points, according to IDC.
Drawing on decades of experience in enterprise systems design and silicon packaging, IBM engineers have radically expanded the capabilities of the x86 platform by achieving an engineering first — decoupling memory from its traditional, tightly bound place alongside the server’s processor, thereby eliminating the need to buy another server to support growing memory-intensive workloads. This all-new class of x86-based systems offers six times the memory scalability available today, helping to flatten the ever-rising cost of operating industry-standard data centers.
For example, the amount of data ingested by today’s average Web-based workload doubles every year, increasing costs and straining resources. Users have traditionally dealt with the deluge by using the only method available with industry-standard platforms -throwing more servers at the problem, which furthers sprawl and increases power and management costs. Today, typical x86 servers are only being utilized at 10% of capacity due to a 30-year-old architecture that locks processor and memory capacity together.
The eX5 systems take advantage of integration with IBM middleware to create a highly virtualized environment that can give users a flexible, highly scalable system that can reduce the number of servers needed by half while cutting storage costs 97% and licensing fees by 50%.
A unique IBM silicon innovation allows processors on eX5 systems to access extended memory very quickly, an industry first and a leap forward that delivers the largest memory capacity in the industry. The IBM Enterprise X-Architecture chip is in its fifth generation with eX5 and leverages decades of IBM experience in integrating microelectronics to create first-of-a-kind silicon solutions.
Independent memory scaling technology, called MAX 5, offers six times more memory than is available across the industry today, which can allow clients to run 82% more "virtual servers" for the same license costs (5) and reduce middleware and application expenses dramatically. Clients running a Microsoft database can cut their license costs by 50% with eX5.
IBM will introduce three ultra-scalable eX5 systems in 2010 – the four-processor IBM System x3850 X5, the BladeCenter HX5 and the System x3690 X5, an entry-priced server capable of enterprise-class operation that will become the most powerful two-processor server on the market.