First IBM Power5 server to debut Monday

IBM will announce on Monday its first server models using the company’s new Power5 processor, along with a new branding strategy that highlights the blurring lines between Big Blue’s four current server lines, sources said.

IBM’s Power5 chip is a 64-bit processor that competes with high-end chips from Intel, Sun Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard. Its introduction begins the last step in the convergence of two IBM server lines, iSeries and pSeries, which now use identical hardware and are differentiated only by the operating system and other software.

IBM on Monday will introduce its first Power5-based iSeries models, the i5 520, with one or two processors, and the i5 570, with one to four processors, sources said. The new systems will bring lower prices to the iSeries lineage–with one 520 model, which will include versions of IBM’s WebSphere e-commerce software and its DB2 database, costing $11,500.

“It’s a declaration of war against Intel, Dell, Microsoft and Oracle under cover of a value announcement for customers,” said RedMonk analyst James Governor. It’s a war IBM can fight effectively because it can supply all the necessary hardware and software to compete directly with those rivals, he said.

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