IBM is adding faster hot-swappable hard drives and redundant power supplies to its low-end server products for small and medium businesses.

Customers will also be able to order the new x100, x206m and x306m with Intel's forthcoming ddual-core Xeon processors, said Stuart McRae, worldwide marketing manager for xSeries servers and workstations. All three models are designed to use a single processor for simple server tasks such as file serving or web hosting, he said.

However, even smaller businesses are concerned about hardware outages if they rely on their websites for income. IBM's new x206 and x306 servers should help keep those businesses running with features such as SAS (Serial Attached SCSI) hard drives and power supplies that can be removed and replaced while the server is running, McRae said. Not all configurations of the new model feature the hot-swapping capability.

Previously, in order to get those types of features, IBM customers would have to upgrade to a more expensive model, but the company is now bringing those capabilities down to lower-priced systems, McRae said. Pricing for the x206m starts at US$699, while the x306m starts at $1,089. Both models will be available to order on 4 October and will ship by the middle of October.

The company also plans to introduce the x100 for the most basic serving tasks, McRae said. The x100 starts at $599 and can be ordered immediately from IBM's website.

Should they choose, IBM's customers can order their new servers with dual-core Xeon processors, which cram two independent processing cores into a single piece of silicon. Intel plans to release the dual-core Xeons in coming weeks, ahead of the target it set for itself earlier this year but still well behind rival AMD's dual-core Opteron server processors, which were released in April.