IBM today introduced Superior Wireless Applications or "SWAP," software, specifically designed to help remote users of wireless handheld devices manage more of their business, giving them access to a broad array of applications not previously manageable via a wireless device.
The new software will run on IBM's AIX operating system and can be downloaded onto the new IBM eServer p640, allowing mobile business executives to trigger customized management tasks on the server by simply "pointing and tapping" on an Internet-ready Palm(TM) handheld computer or other handheld device.
Specifically, SWAP software provides web services that connect wireless devices to custom applications on the server. With customized applications, mobile business executives could:
- Monitor Web storefront traffic, query real-time sales database information and make changes to product descriptions and pricing.
- Write and run applications to manage human resources, facilities, purchasing and other core business functions.
- Access sales reports and input orders from the field.
- Receive notification and make adjustments remotely when product inventory falls below pre-set levels.
- Shutdown/restart the server in the event of an application failure or hostile break-in.
Easily customized, the SWAP code can be tuned by customers to address many common business management tasks. IT managers can also take advantage of SWAP as a server management tool, administrating and managing their data warehouses remotely via a handheld device.
"We are extremely excited about IBM's SWAP technology and its potential applicability to our business," said Anurag Kumar, CEO and President, MediaPrise, Inc. "Our new IBM UNIX servers will be hosted by a premier hosting service provider and SWAP will allow us to monitor and manage them remotely. MediaPrise is developing a hosted platform, linking brand manufacturers with their diverse channel partners, enabling management and distribution of rich product and marketing information. Over time, we envision leveraging SWAP to provide our customers an alternate access mechanism to our hosted services. This functionality alone can provide us a strong competitive advantage."
"The inclusion of SWAP technology onto our UNIX platform and the new IBM eServer p640 ushers in a new era in wireless business computing, giving mobile executives the competitive edge they need to implement important business decisions anyplace, anytime, anywhere," said Michael Kerr, vice-president of products, IBM Web Servers. "Incorporating IBM's industry-leading UNIX technology with powerful software for the wireless world, the rack-mounted p640 with SWAP offers superior performance and manageability for a new breed of wireless customers."
IBM's breakthrough in linking web applications vital to e-business directly to the wireless user is another key pillar in the company's vision of a pervasive computing world.
SWAP builds on IBM's existing SNAPP (System Networking, Analysis, and Performance Pilot) software, a wireless technology introduced earlier this year that allows IT managers and administrators to monitor and configure a server. The new SWAP software improves on SNAPP, giving business execs, sales persons and merchants a greatly enhanced, easy-to-use tool to help run their businesses. SWAP also offers rock-solid security, including user ID/password protection, support for encryption and the ability to limit access to a specific number of devices.
IBM's rapid deployment of key wireless technologies is in contrast with server competitors who have yet to deliver products with the same level of performance. The IBM eServer p640 with SWAP software is the first product of its kind in the server marketplace. Competitors such as Sun and Hewlett Packard have not introduced any comparable systems that provide the same class of features for the wireless user.
Better Performance, Less Expensive Than Sun
In other areas of server performance, the p640 outperforms competing products from Sun Microsystems at less cost. Priced at $18,054, a one-way p640 with 1 GB of memory, 18.2 GB of 10,000 RPM disk and a CD-ROM costs about 27 percent less than a similarly configured Sun E420R*
Powered by IBM's copper-based microprocessors and up to 16 GB of ECC SDRAM memory, the p640 achieves leading performance across a wide spectrum of workloads:
- The p640 is the fastest 4-way UNIX Web server to offer NEBS
Level 3 compliance
- a combination of speed and durability that is needed in many of today's e-commerce infrastructures.
- An excellent commercial server, the p640 is about 24 percent faster than Sun's 450 MHz E420R, according to the SPECint95 benchmark, which measures commercial processing performance.*
- The p640 is also a superior server for scientific and technical applications, scoring 19 percent better than the E420R in the SPECfloat95 benchmark, a key test of technical capability.
The IBM system derives its tremendous performance advantage over Sun from its balanced system design. With L2 cache bandwidth peaking at a substantial 8 GB per second, the p640's processors are never starved for data. By contrast, the Sun E420's L2 cache bandwidth peaks at 5.3 GB per second
Another advantage enjoyed by the p640 is the copper interconnect technology used in the server's microprocessors. Copper interconnects, introduced in IBM UNIX servers last year, are better conductors of electricity versus aluminum, allowing for the development of faster, smaller, and more cost-effective microprocessors. The microprocessors in the p640 are the same kind that power ASCI White, the world's most powerful supercomputer, built by IBM for the U.S. Energy Department.
Complementing its remote access features, the p640 provides easy hands-on manageability. All key systems, such as disk bays, are accessible from the front of the machine. And the server has a tiny footprint -- 5U high by 24 inches deep -- making it ideal for IT environments where floor space is at a premium.
Battle-hardened for Demanding Environments
The rugged, rack-mounted p640 comes equipped with up to four copper microprocessors and is specifically designed and constructed for harsh environments like huge server farms -- operated by telcos and service providers -- where servers are often subject to extreme physical stress. The server conforms with the Network Equipment Building System (NEBS) standards that telecommunications companies rely on to measure the durability of computers and other equipment.
Offering NEBS Level 3 compliance -- the most stringent level of certification for the telecommunications industry -- the p640 has been hardened to withstand high temperature, violent shaking, lightning strikes, airborne contaminants, fires, and electrostatic discharge. This battle-ready toughness makes it ideal for wireless/telecommunications applications that require near continuous uptime.
Reliability, Availability and Serviceability
The p640 NEBS-compliant server includes mainframe-class reliability, availability and serviceability features, such as:
- Dynamic CPU Deallocation, which automatically deallocates resources if impending CPU failures are detected so applications keep running.
- A service processor that monitors vital signs, ensuring that the system doesn't go down.
The p640 also has hot-plug power and fans to improve availability, and hot-swappable disk bays to help manage unexpected growth.
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