At the end of September, IBM will announce the Netfinity 5500M10 with dual Xeon processors and management capabilities, which a source familiar with the server described as mainframe class.
The 5500M10 will feature "hot add" PCI capability, a technology that was not expected to be available before Windows NT 5.0.
Hot add will allow IS managers to add in new PCI adapters that have not been seen by the system before without rebooting. Currently, hot-swappable technology only permits the replacement of nonworking adapter cards.
IBM's server group worked with Microsoft to create the device drivers exclusively for IBM products running NT 4.0, said the source.
Also included in the new servers is a technology IBM is calling Light Path diagnostics.
"There will be lights inside the system box beside each memory module, processor, and every replaceable component," said the source. The lights will tell a manager what component is failing when the box is opened up.
The Netfinity 5500M10 will also include an embedded PowerPC 405 processor on the motherboard for remote management of the server. Regardless of what happens to the ser-ver, even if both processors fail, the embedded chip will allow managers to dial in to the system to look at the logs, flash the BIOS, or restart the system if one processor is still working.
The system will also be upgradeable from Slot 1 Xeon processors to Slot 2 Xeons by using a "shoebox" that can be unplugged from the motherboard and upgraded to Slot 2.
The tower system can be converted to a rack-mounted one by removing the sides and adding rails. An included NetBase 3 pedestal can house routers, disk enclosures, or uninterruptible power supply systems.