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IBM 32-Way Xeon System Slated for 2004

As IBM rolled out its 16-way Itanium 2 servers this week, the company confirmed that it still plans to bring out a 32-processor system based on the 32-bit Intel Xeon processor.

"We'll have a 32-way benchmark later this year. It'll be in volume production in the first part of next year," said Jay Bretzmann, product marketing manager for IBM's eServer xSeries.

IBM markets twin xSeries server lines based on the same "Summit" chipset. The 32-bit versions based on Intel Xeon processors came out in late 2001. IBM rolled out 64-bit versions based on the Intel Itanium 2 processor this year.

In both 32-bit and 64-bit lines, the servers are modular systems built on four-processor units that can be linked through proprietary interconnects to create larger systems. The 32-bit line has been 16-way capable since December. The 64-bit line became 16-processor capable this week.

IBM has been promising a 32-processor version on the 32-bit side for some time now. The company had planned to release one in the second half of this year, but now general availability has slipped into early 2004.

Once the server becomes available it will be only the second 32-processor capable system on the market for Intel's 32-bit Xeon processors. Unisys offers the other 32-processor server running Intel Xeons. Like IBM, Unisys also supports Itanium 2 processors in its systems.

Other server vendors decided to focus their high-end Intel efforts exclusively on the Itanium 2 processor. HP and NEC offer massive Itanium 2 systems. HP supports up to 64 Itanium 2 processors, and NEC supports up to 32 Itanium 2 processors.

About the Author

Scott Bekker is editor in chief of Redmond Channel Partner magazine.

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