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April 12, 2004

The rumor mill grinds away on Power5 announcements

There's always a lot of chatter before a big IBM Corp announcement, but rarely does it coalesce into a complete picture of the products that are soon coming to market. Such is the case with OS/400 V5R3 and the future Power5-based "Squadron" servers. IBM is now widely expected to announce OS/400 V5R3 in the coming weeks. But the announcements could be bigger than this.

By CBR Staff Writer

In fact, many believe that IBM will soon unveil the new implementation of its WebSphere Web application server on April 20. OS/400 V5R3 is rumored to be coming out before the end of April.

Additionally, Big Blue could be announcing the hypervisor for the Power5 machines, highlighting this as a separate product that enables the Squadron machines to exist. It would be interesting if the hypervisor is supported on any Power4 or Power4+ server in IBM’s line, and that support for concurrent OS/400, AIX, and Linux on any iSeries or pSeries machine is possible with the addition of appropriate I/O features and conversions. If IBM can do this, and does do this, it would be a wonderful way to preserve the significant investments that customers have made in recent iSeries and pSeries iron. But knowing IBM, the company will only offer support for this hypervisor on new Squadron boxes – unless it has real problems shipping Power5 chips in volume.

Rumors also suggest that IBM will actually prebundle Linux on the new Squadron boxes. A few weeks ago, we told you that Novell had inked a deal with IBM to allow Big Blue to preload SuSE Linux Enterprise Server 8 on any eServer computer and that Red Hat had signed a deal to allow IBM to sell and distribute Red Hat’s Enterprise Linux 3.0 along with (but not yet preloaded on) IBM’s Power-based iSeries and pSeries servers and its JS20 Power-based blade servers for the BladeCenters.

At least some of the new Squadron machines will actually come with Linux already on them according to experts and the first year of support (what you really pay for when you buy the license) already covered. Neither Novell nor Red Hat would do this for free, but IBM did just pump $50m into Novell Inc and this may be the payback: IBM gets to put a copy of SuSE on the Power line as part of the Squadrons.

This article is based on material originally published by ComputerWire

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