IBM announces preconfigured analytics servers

IBM's new mainframe and Power-based servers come with analytics and database software

IBM on Wednesday introduced mainframe and Power-based systems for analytics in an effort to compete with Oracle's Exadata.

IBM's Smart Analytics System servers are bundled with hardware and software for analytics, business intelligence and transaction processing workloads, IBM said. IBM also introduced an entry-level business analytics appliance that can analyze data on the fly as transactions are processed in the cloud.

IBM is moving in the direction of offering servers designed to work with specific workloads such as databases and business process management. The new Smart Analytics servers are based on existing IBM server designs and run on x86 chips and IBM's Power processors.

The new Smart Analytics System 9700 and IBM Smart Analytics System 9710 are based on zEnterprise designs and provide an operating environment for mainframe-based analytics at an "entry-level price," IBM said. The servers can run on SUSE or Red Hat Linux.

The company also announced IBM Smart Analytics System 7710, which is based on the Power processor, and the Smart Analytics System 5710, which is based on the x86 processor. The servers can be deployed in a matter of days, and include business intelligence reporting, data mining and text analytics capabilities, IBM said.

The 7710, which is based on the IBM P740 server, runs AIX OS and is designed for data warehouses under 10TB, IBM said. The 5710, which is based on a System x design, runs on Linux OS, and comes with InfoSphere Warehouse and Cognos 10 business intelligence software.

IBM did not immediately provide price or availability information for the new servers.

IBM competes in the unified server space with Oracle, which offers the Exadata Database Machine, a preconfigured system designed for data warehousing and transaction processing. Exadata combines Oracle software with Sun hardware and storage.

IBM also introduced the DB2 Analytics Accelerator technology, which will help customers make sense of massive amounts of data flowing in through the cloud much quicker. Instead of waiting to pull out reports for analytics, customers can get business insight and act as transactions are processed in the cloud, an IBM spokeswoman said.

The new analytics appliance plugs into IBM zEnterprise 196 enterprise server, and the accelerator connects to the DB2 database as transactions are processed in the cloud. The accelerator incorporates technology from Netezza, a data analytics provider acquired by IBM last year for US$1.7 billion.

This is the first time Netezza technology is being bought to the cloud, the spokeswoman said. The appliance for servers will become available in November, but the company did not provide a price.

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