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IBM Rolls Out 64-Bit Server, Contemplates Revamping RS/6000 Line


ARMONK, NY--Last week International Business Machines (IBM) here unveiled a new 64-bit Unix-platform server, the RS/6000 Model S70, which is intended to be competitive with equipment from Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, and Digital Equipment in the bioinformatics market. "In less than one year we have more than tripled the performance capability of our RS/6000 enterprise servers while still giving customers fantastic price/performance," claimed Mark Bregman, general manager of IBM's RS/6000 Division. When used with the new 64-bit version 4.3 of the AIX operating system and new 64-bit applications and middleware from IBM and its partners, the S70 "is the most comprehensive 64-bit Unix computing solution available anywhere," the company contended.

AIX 4.3 can run 64- and 32-bit applications simultaneously, giving users immediate performance gains and helping them transition to the next generation of computing. Com plex applications such as data mining will particularly benefit from 64-bit computing, IBM said. Netscape Navigator 4.0, IBM's Domino Go Webserver, and Netscape's FastTrack entry Web server are included with AIX 4.3, which also comes with such network computing tools as Ultimedia Services, Adobe Acrobat Reader, DCE Clients, and Network Station Manager.

The S70 can be configured with four, eight, or 12 PowerPC RS64 processors. It comes standard with 512 megabytes of memory and 14 PCI slots, but can be upgraded to 16 megabytes and 56 slots. Memory and processors are protected with redundant power and cooling. Customers can upgrade from existing J and R models, and the S70 itself is designed to be easy to upgrade. According to IBM, most industry-leading software vendors--including IBM DB2, Informix, Lotus, Oracle, Sybase, and Software AG--have tested applications and databases on the S70, often finding significant performance improvements.

Meanwhile, IBM is reportedly planning to overhaul the entire RS/6000 line, reducing the number of models from 180 to 20. The company has also announced new VisualAge application development tools that speed the development of applications that link directly to the web. Among other things, the new tools allow users to use standard web browsers to view and update enterprise applications and manage team-based developments across the VisualAge family, and to develop data models and optimize physical database designs for enterprise systems.

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