Thursday, October 16, 2014

In Midst of Sale to Lenovo, IBM Releases Updated x86 Server Line

IBM launched a new line of System x M5 generation servers in early September despite the sale of the x86 server line to Lenovo. On October 1st, Lenovo announced that they have completed the initial closing for the acquisition of the IBM x86 server business. This series is likely to be the last release of x86 servers by IBM before the purchase goes through.

The new line of IBM M5 x86 servers is designed to support a wide range of computing environments and enterprise workloads and contains features that make it secure, efficient, and reliable. With this release, IBM hopes to expand the x86 server use case with features unique to the new M5 line including IBM Trusted Platform Assurance security features, energy-saving TruDDR4 memory, and new Intel Xeon E5-2600 v3 processors. Other features of the new M5 x86 server line include added hardware support for the Trusted Platform Module (TPM 2.0) that will enable more encryption algorithms and Windows support, and a new Secure Firmware Rollback feature that will prevent unauthorized updates of previous firmware versions.

Improved energy efficiency is also prevalent in the IBM x86 servers with new features including dual fan zones, standby mode for power supplies, and extended operating temperature ranges. The new M5 servers provide up to 131% performance improvements over previous generations for faster analytics and improved business decision-making capabilities. Each M5 server can come loaded with up to 1.5TB of memory and range from 1U to 5U in form factor height. The M5 platform comes in configurable models of tower and rack servers, dense systems, blades and integrated systems. System x servers continue to have the highest availability of all x86-based servers which is a crucial factor for business that cannot afford downtime.

IBM remains the second-largest holder of the global server market despite its decision to leave the x86 server business. IBM continues to strike success from selling fewer big ticket items than selling many commodity x86 servers, which explains its reasoning for walking away from its x86 line to focus on other areas. Lenovo will now begin the transition in countries that are a part of the initial closing which includes most major markets. The transaction is expected to close in most other countries later this year with the full acquirement in all countries by early 2015. 

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