IBM Launches New Power7 Systems

 
 
By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2010-08-17
 
 
 

IBM Launches New Power7 Systems


Completing its rollout of commercial Power7 systems for the year, IBM has announced new Power7 systems, including high-end systems and entry-level servers.

In an interview with eWEEK, Jeff Howard, director of Power systems marketing at IBM, said the new systems are designed to manage demanding workloads and emerging applications. And the new high-end system offers better energy efficiency than competitive systems from Oracle and Hewlett-Packard, Howard said

In all, IBM on Aug. 17 announced new systems, including servers, software and IBM's PowerVM virtualization capabilities, to enable customers to better manage increasing amounts of data in an interconnected world and to conserve energy and floor space in burdened data centers, IBM said. The new systems are part of a yearlong rollout by IBM of workload-optimized systems for the demands of emerging business models such as smart electrical grids, real-time analytics in financial markets and health care, mobile telecommunications, and smarter traffic systems, Howard said.

The new systems include the high-end IBM Power 795 system; four entry-level Power7 processor-based servers designed specifically for midmarket clients; and a Power7 processor-based workload-optimized Smart Analytics System that helps businesses draw real-time information from massive amounts of data. All the systems announced will be available on Sept. 17, Howard said.

"IBM continues to make the investments in systems, processors, systems software, operating systems and middleware necessary to lead the industry and meet the need of customers' growing workloads," said Tom Rosamilia, general manager of Power Systems and System z in the IBM Systems & Technology Group, in a statement. "IBM Power Systems have raised the bar for performance, reliability and energy efficiency."

The new 256-core IBM Power 795 offers more than five times better energy efficiency compared with servers from Oracle and HP, Howard said. It uses IBM's EnergyScale technology that varies frequencies depending upon workloads. This new system supports up to 8 terabytes of memory and provides over four times the performance in the same "energy envelope" as the fastest Power 595, IBM's Power6 processor-based high-end system. 

In addition, the new Power7 technology supports four times as many processor cores as prior systems and uses IBM's latest PowerVM virtualization software to enable customers to run more than 1,000 virtual servers on a single physical system, Howard said.

And for customers nearing capacity limits for energy, space and cooling in data centers, consolidating older systems to the new high-end Power 795 could result in more headroom-with energy reductions of up to 75 percent for equivalent performance capacity, IBM said in a press release on the new technology.

IBM also announced Power Flex, a new environment composed of two or more Power 795 systems, PowerVM Live Partition Mobility and a Flex Capacity Upgrade on Demand option. This solution enables clients to shift running applications from one system to another to perform system maintenance without downtime, helping to balance workloads and more easily handle peaks in demand. 

"This enables you to have a complete scale and execution system," Howard said. "It's a highly flexible scale-up and scale-out model where you can keep adding systems as you need."

IBM Unveils AIX 7


 

IBM also announced a new version of IBM's Unix operating system, AIX 7, Howard said. AIX 7 features the capability to run older AIX 5.2 environments in a workload partition on top of AIX 7. AIX 7 has gone through an open beta process and has had more than 1,200 downloads, Howard said.

Meanwhile, IBM announced a pair of developments that illustrate continued momentum for its Power systems technology in the $13 billion Unix market, in which IBM has experienced a 14-point revenue share gain since 2005, company officials said.

One such development is that IBM claims it has achieved the industry's highest TPC-C (transaction processing) benchmark on a Power Systems configuration with DB2, hitting 10,366,354 transactions per minute, which exceeds Oracle's and HP's best results by more than 35 percent, according to Howard.

The other development is the number of migrations IBM has seen recently from competing platforms. Howard said 285 customers moved business workloads to IBM systems and storage from the competition in the second quarter of 2010, including 171 from Oracle and 86 from HP.  And more than 2,600 companies have switched from the competition to IBM Power Systems since IBM established its Migration Factory program four years ago, he said. Moreover, IBM's business of helping customers reduce x86 server sprawl by consolidating to Power increased fourfold over the first quarter, he said.

Meanwhile, IBM announced four Express servers today-IBM Power 710, 720, 730 and 740 Express-providing midmarket customers with the performance, energy efficiency and other benefits of Power7 technology in compact rack-mount or tower packages.

The systems are priced starting at $6,385 and are available from IBM and IBM Business Partners. Customers can choose the IBM Power Express model configuration that satisfies their requirements and receive half the processor core activations at no additional charge.  The new Express servers run more than 15,000 applications based on AIX, IBM i and Linux operating systems. PowerVM software is also optionally available on the four new Express models, allowing clients to consolidate multiple workloads on one or more servers.

GHY International, a family-owned business in Winnipeg, Manitoba, which has been operating for more than a century, is using Power Systems running three operating environments-AIX, IBM i and Linux-in concert with other IBM hardware and software to manage its growing international trade services and consulting business, IBM said.

"This is critically important in a time when we have smarter applications and the horsepower to drive them," said Nigel Fortlage, vice president of information technology for GHY International, in a statement. "IBM Power Systems have allowed us to use a cross platform server consolidation and virtualization strategy to effectively manage these new, emerging customs workloads. The ability of IBM Power servers to run multiple operating systems simultaneously is an enormous benefit to GHY, and the impact of virtualization on productivity has been astounding."

Howard said the new IBM Smart Analytics System 7700 with Power7 delivers a purpose-built analytics platform that can be deployed and customized for clients in a matter of days. This solution helps clients quickly draw insights from vast amounts of data to anticipate emerging business trends, capture new opportunities and avoid risks, he said.

The Smart Analytics System-which features several pretested Power Systems 740 Express server configurations, IBM DB2 Powered and InfoSphere Warehouse software and AIX-analyzes data where it resides.

Roanoke, Va.-based, Advance Auto Parts, a leader in the automotive aftermarket, has more than 3,500 stores with more than 51,000 employees. Recently, the chain deployed the IBM Smart Analytics System to more efficiently analyze national sales and inventory data up to 10 times faster than before, IBM said in its press release.

"IBM's level of optimization addresses the growing demands of data-intensive workloads versus other competitive offerings while also helping to reduce IT costs," said Bill Robinette, director of business intelligence at Advance Auto Parts. "The system makes it easier to analyze data integrated from multiple databases and thereby turning that data into actionable insight quickly. That insight allows us to understand what our customers are buying at specific store locations. Data on the make and model of the cars they own can help us more effectively manage inventory to ensure the right auto parts such as batteries, headlights and brakes are in stock."

In addition, IBM announced its new IBM Rational Power Appliance, a family of software appliances comprising Power Express servers that are preloaded and preconfigured with IBM Rational software for AIX development. Available in a range of sizes and programming languages to suit specific user requirements, these ready-to-use systems provide customers a fully enabled software development environment that can be put to use in a matter of hours, rather than days or weeks.

"This is a complete set of Rational tools on a Power appliance," Howard.

Also, as part of this busy round of announcements, IBM said for its IBM i customers, the company will deliver four new IBM i Solution Editions, integrated and optimized for rapid ERP deployment. These packages feature software from SAP, JD Edwards, Infor and Lawson and offer savings for customers running older versions of the i operating system who are looking to upgrade, IBM said in its release.

In addition, IBM announced enhanced solid-state disk options on all Power7 systems.


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