Precisely 10 years after launching its first RS6000 server, IBM has announced the latest incarnation of the PowerRISC-based server.
The event was also marked by announcements that Big Blue had introduced the first Unix workstations utilising copper-based microprocessors and that two million of the chips had been distributed in the marketplace.
Another bonus for end users which resellers will be able to focus on when presenting solutions is that the licensing agreement packaged with the servers has been extended from its previous limitation of just two users to one that is unlimited.
According to Andrew Baker, director of IBM's enterprise systems group, the inability of resellers to up-sell on licensing does not represent lost revenue opportunities.
"We think that the licensing move is making the whole RS6000 or IBM Unix strategy more attractive," Baker said. "So, it is good for us and good for the customers."
As a result of the growth of e-commerce and companies doing business all over the world, Baker said the chief criteria in the Unix market is "the delivery of value and particularly availability. Cost is clearly not the driving factor," he said. "It is important but the key is availability and flexibility."
Baker said that currently about "two-thirds" of IBM's local RS6000 business is conducted through indirect channels, adding that this is a balance it is quite comfortable with and which is expected to remain constant as the hardware becomes increasingly affordable.
"Our primary go-to-market strategy in RS6000 is through the channel," Baker said. "What is logical for IBM and its partners and what should be logical for our business partners is that we are increasing the appeal of the Unix platform in the marketplace.
"Underneath that, we are delivering what the market is clearly looking for from e-business which is iron-clad robustness and enterprise capability computing. Business partners see the value in that."
Baker said the second most important thing users are looking for from their e-commerce infrastructure is flexibility to be able to integrate the multiple architectures that are popular in the marketplace. This, he said, is a strategy that IBM is facilitating through things such as its purchase of Sequent - which developed a very high-end Unix on Intel capability and its commitment to the Monterey project.
Meanwhile, the increasing popularity of Linux is another area not being ignored by IBM, Baker claimed. He said that even if users choose a Linux platform, IBM would be working towards making sure they too can make use of the high availability capabilities of the latest hardware.
"The message for our partners is that IBM is strongly committed to Unix," Baker said. "We have an outstanding Unix strategy and our delivery of it to the market is dependent on business partners."