IBM has jumped into the emerging market for massive cloud computing systems with iDataPlex, a water-cooled system offering high density in a smaller footprint. The iDataPlex series will offer racks pre-populated with servers for rapid deployment, and is also being offered in a 40-foot trailer, marking IBM's first foray into container-based systems.
IBM said its hardware design for iDataPlex reduces the cost per server by at least 20 percent, and can cram twice as many servers into the same floor space as conventional servers while requiring 40 percent less power to run. It can be outfitted with IBM's Cool Blue rear-door water-cooling system. The Wall Street Journal said IBM has deployed iDataPlex systems with Yahoo (YHOO), Merrill Lynch and the Chinese online service Tencent.
The IBM system will be officially announced today at the Web 2.0 conference, and will begin shipping next month. iDataPlex targets a small number of high-end customers with data centers that have thousands of servers.
IBM's strategy tracks the development of cloud computing, in which applications shift from in-house data centers to massive utility computing platforms run by companies like Amazon (AMZN), Salesforce (CRM), Microsoft (MSFT) and Google (MSFT). Because IBM is focusing iDataPlex on a relatively small number of cloud builders, it can offer customized implementations.
The iDataPlex system supplies about 100 Intel-based servers in a standard