The release of the x450 comes after much debate about when IBM was planning to release a machine for the 64-bit Itanium 2, considering it releases many servers with its own POWER chip architecture. The Armonk, N.Y. firm has also clung to its 32-bit Intel Xeon practice, having already launched the x440 to scale up to 16 Intel Xeon MP processors.
Tailored for such software as high-performance computing and data warehouse applications, the x450 is based on IBM's Enterprise X-Architecture, which was developed to support both the Intel Xeon and Intel Itanium 2 servers. EXA-based systems are designed to lower costs for customers because they provide a "pay-as-you-grow" price scale, part of IBM's overarching strategy for e-business on demand.
Still, IBM remains faithful to the 16-bit Xeon schema. IBM is seeing stronger interest in 16-way eServer x440 systems, and is working with Intel and Microsoft to develop Xeon-based systems that will eventually increase to 32 processor, Advani said.
Microsoft, whose Windows Server 2003 is primed to run Itanium 2 servers, is working with IBM and HP to provide a better, more integrated product. HP announced Tuesday new Intel Itanium 2-based workstations running Microsoft Windows XP 64-Bit Edition Version 2003.
The eServer x450 is now shipping at a base price $25,999.