Channel Insider content and product recommendations are editorially independent. We may make money when you click on links to our partners. Learn More.

IBM next month will roll out an entry-level two-way OpenPower server designed to compete with Hewlett-Packard Co.’s and Sun Microsystems Inc.’s volume Linux and Unix offerings.

IBM, of Armonk, N.Y., introduced the OpenPower line in September 2004 as a way of bringing the 64-bit Power5 architecture into the growing volume Linux server space. The first system launched was the four-way eServer OpenPower 720. On Monday, the company unveiled the 710, a rack-optimized one- or two-way server that will start at $3,449.

In addition, IBM officials said that an additional 250 applications from such companies as SAP AG and Sybase Inc. have been ported to the OpenPower platform, bringing the total up to about 900 applications.

Click here to read more about Sybase putting its ASE relational database on OpenPower-based systems.

“In terms of where the [$5 billion] Linux server market is headed, it’s going through a shift, a change toward running more mission critical applications,” said Joe Doria, program director for IBM’s Linux on Power program.

Like the 720, the new 710—which will be generally available Feb. 18—will run Linux operating systems from both Red Hat Inc. and Novell Inc.’s SuSE unit. It will offer redundancy in such components as power supplies, multiple drive bays and PCI slots, and the virtualization and micro-partitioning offered in all of IBM’s Power-based servers.

The OpenPower systems join IBM’s p- and iSeries systems, as well as the BladeCenter JS20 blade servers, in running on the Power architecture. IBM’s xSeries systems also run Linux.

IBM has been pushing its Linux on Power program for more than a year. Doria’s group was created about a year ago, and IBM also has created a Linux Technology Center, where engineers work on improving the open-source operating system.

Both HP and Sun also are targeting the Linux space. HP offers a host of systems, running processors from both Intel Corp. and Advanced Micro Devices Inc., that run Linux. Sun last year began rolling out systems running AMD’s operating chip that can run both Linux and its Solaris x86 operating systems.

Check out’s for the latest news, views and analysis on servers, switches and networking protocols for the enterprise and small businesses.