eServer i5 Line Enhanced with New Features
by Timothy Prickett Morgan
IBM made some minor enhancements to the eServer i5 product line in addition to launching two new Solution Editions (see the separate story in this issue for more on that announcement) last week. These new features include two new memory cards, a faster Ethernet adapter, new I/O ports, and acoustic doors, to cut down on noise in the data centers or office spaces where customers put their i5 machines.
The two new memory cards come in 8 GB and 16 GB capacities. The feature 7049 memory card is a 16 GB memory card with only 8 GB of that memory activated. The remaining 8 GB can be activated through the on-demand features of the i5 systems. This particular memory card is available only for the i5 570, which scales from two to 16 Power5 processor cores; it costs $20,200. IBM has also announced a 16 GB memory card for the i5 570, which has all of its capacity activated. This one, feature 4494, costs $32,000, which means IBM is charging a pretty hefty premium for that first 8 GB on the on-demand memory card. Both cards require i5/OS V5R3; AIX 5L 5.2 or 5.3; Red Hat Enterprise Linux 3; or Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 9.
The faster Ethernet cards and asynchronous I/O ports are not, ironically, available for OS/400 partitions on the i5 servers, but rather only for AIX partitions. (Presumably, they will eventually get drivers for OS/400.) The feature 5719 card is a 10 Gigabit Ethernet card, which is 10 times faster than the current Gigabit Ethernet card on the i5's OS/400 partitions, and is about 100 times faster than the 100 Mbps Ethernet adapters and cabling that is widely used in corporations. This 10 Gigabit Ethernet card costs $9,853 and uses up a PCI-X slot in the i5 520, 550, 570, and 595 systems that it plugs into. You have to be on AIX 5L 5.2 or 5.3 in the i5 partitions to use this high speed Ethernet link. IBM also has a new two-port asynchronous EIA-232 data communication adapter, feature 5723, which can run at 128 Kbps. It also requires AIX in the partition that is using it, and it costs $285.
Finally, IBM has two new doors for the iSeries and i5 lines that can help cut down on the noise in the data center. The 1.8-meter acoustic door, feature 6248, fits on iSeries 270, 800, 810, 825, 870, and 890 towers or on the rack-mounted i5 520, 550, 570, and 595 servers. It dampens the noise from all those whirring disks and fans. Feature 6249 is a similar 2-meter acoustic door that can be used on iSeries 800, 810, 825, 870, and 890 towers, as well as on the i5 520, 550, 570, and 595 servers. At $4,200 a pop, though, you really have to want or need the quiet that these acoustic doors can provide.