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IBM's Thin Pizzazz Server Takes On Sun for ISP Business.

IBM Corp is taking on Sun Microsystems Inc in the ISP market with its Pizzazz RS/6000 B50 thin servers. The B50 is, as we expected, a 43P model 150 workstation, which uses a 375MHz, 32-bit PowerPC 604e processor, shrunk down so you can mount twenty of them in a standard data center rack. The base B50 comes with 128Mb of main memory, expandable to 1Gb, and an integrated UltraSCSI-2 disk controller, a 1.44Mb floppy disk drive and a 32X CD-ROM drive. Customers can add two disk drives, or the outboard disk expansion box that is also sold with the SP servers.

The Pizzazz thin server has two PCI slots, one long, one short. It will run AIX 4.3.2 or the new 4.3.3 release or the PowerPC implementation of Yellow Dog Linux from Terasoft. The Yellow Dog CD comes with the standard Sendmail, Apache and other ISP software, so potential ISP buyers won't have to look on the web for the software they need to make the B50 useful if they want to run Linux. IBM says that it plans to sell the B50 thin server for $3,995, and that, in the long term, resellers won't be able to get any more than a 25% discount on the box from IBM because that list price is so low.

To get volumes running up, IBM is offering a supplemental 4% discount on B50 purchases by business partners until the end of the year. With that low price, even with end user customers (meaning ISPs) buying dozens or hundreds of the B50s, prices probably won't drop to much below 10% of list. IBM plans to target the top 250 ISPs in the world with its own dedicated ISP sales team to push the Pizzazz servers, but also says that it will be available over its Shop IBM web site. Any current RS/6000 business partner will be able to sell the box to an ISP without having to demonstrate a value-add and without having to make face-to-face customer contact, a requirement IBM has for high-end server sales. IBM says that the low price tag of the Pizzazz server will make it particularly attractive compared to Sun's Netra t1 "Flapjack" server, which IBM says costs $6,160 for a 128Mb base box compared to the $3,995 price of the Pizzazz with the same memory.
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Publication:Computergram International
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Sep 13, 1999
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