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IBM drops Intel high-end server

IBM drops Intel high-end server

Users of an IBM server line the company acquired through its purchase of Sequent Computer Systems are being forced to migrate to other systems as a result of IBM's decision to ditch the technology.

IBM announced the Intel-based 64-processor xSeries 430 server featuring Sequent's Non-Uniform Memory Architecture in March 2001. In March of this year, it posted a notice of plans to withdraw the product, along with Sequent's associated Dynix/ptx Unix operating system.

Starting from December 31, IBM will stop selling both the server and the operating system, though it will continue to support Dynix/ptx through 2006 and the hardware through 2007.

Sequent's NUMA technology allowed the company to assemble very large Intel boxes using four-processor building blocks.

Although Sequent never managed to find a large market for its products, it did snag several big-name customers, such as The Boeing and Carlson Hospitality Worldwide.

When IBM acquired Sequent for US$810 million in 1999, the company said it would use NUMA to deliver very large Intel boxes. The xSeries 430 server, which started at $160,000 for an eight-way system, was expected to be the first in a line of even larger Intel boxes.

IBM is now urging users to move their applications to its 32-way p690 Unix/RISC servers or to smaller four- or eight-way Intel boxes.

An IBM spokesperson last week characterised the move as a routine product withdrawal. Though it formally announced the withdrawal in March, IBM has been contacting customers about the move since last year, he said.

"We do these things all the time. We replace technologies with new technologies. . . . We view this as a product evolution," the spokesperson said. "We are giving our customers plenty of time to execute a migration strategy. And we'll continue to support their migration [to other technologies]."

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