IBM Intros X6 Architecture to Boost x86 Servers for Cloud, Analytics

By Darryl K. Taft  |  Posted 2014-01-16

IBM Intros X6 Architecture to Boost x86 Servers for Cloud, Analytics

IBM announced a new X6 architecture, which optimizes x86-based servers for analytics and cloud workloads.

The X6 architecture is the sixth generation of IBM’s X-Architecture for System x and PureSystems servers and is fast, agile and resilient, IBM said. The architecture offers integrated flash storage for high-performance, modular design for long life cycles to help reduce costs and improve resiliency for increased uptime.

The integrated eXFlash memory-channel storage is a dual in-line memory management (DIMM) based storage that provides up to 12.8 terabytes of ultrafast flash storage close to the processor, increasing application performance by providing very low system write latency that is key for analytics applications. X6 can provide significantly lower latency for database operations, which can lower licensing costs and reduce storage costs by reducing or eliminating the need for external SAN/NAS storage units, IBM said

The system’s modular, scalable design supports multiple generations of CPUs and can reduce acquisition costs up to 28 percent in comparison to one competitive offering, IBM said. And its memory and storage increase virtual machine capacity to allow SaaS delivery of applications. Autonomous self-healing CPU and memory systems maximize application uptime by proactively identifying potential failures and taking action to correct them, IBM said.

In addition, the system’s Upward Integration Modules can help reduce the cost and complexity of system administration by allowing operators to perform management tasks through virtualization tools.

"Our enterprise X-Architecture for x86-based servers and solutions delivers high performance and the highest customer satisfaction in the industry, making us number one in high-end x86 systems," Adalio Sanchez, general manager for IBM x-86 and PureSystems Solutions, said in a statement. "We continue to innovate and deliver leadership performance, reliability and investment protection for mission-critical workloads with X6."

IBM noted that enterprises are rapidly adopting analytics for greater business insight and moving critical workloads like ERP, analytics and database to the cloud for increased efficiency and lower costs, and x86-based systems are the first choice for many. The X6 architecture represents IBM's continuing R&D investment and industry leadership in x86-based systems, and is designed to provide new levels of performance and resiliency for enterprise applications. For memory-hungry applications, X6 delivers three times the scalable memory of current competitors' and IBM x86-based systems to support cloud and analytics, IBM said.

Server models supported by this new architecture currently include the System x3850 X6 four-socket system, System x3950 X6 eight-socket system, and the IBM Flex System x880 scalable compute nodes. IBM also is introducing the System x3650 M4 BD storage server, a two-socket rack server supporting up to 14 drives delivering up to 56 terabytes of high-density storage—the largest available in the industry. It provides 46 percent greater performance than previous comparable IBM System x servers and is ideally suited for distributed scale-out of big data workloads.


IBM Intros X6 Architecture to Boost x86 Servers for Cloud, Analytics

Moreover, to help customers that are moving enterprise apps to the cloud and adopting analytics, IBM announced new solutions for its X6 architecture for analytics, database and cloud deployment, including IBM System x Solution for DB2 with BLU Acceleration on X6 for accelerating analytics, IBM System x Solution for SAP HANA on X6 for analytics, and System x Solution for VMware vCloud Suite on X6 for infrastructure-as-a-service capabilities.

Meanwhile, IBM announced the general availability of its new IBM FlashSystem 840. The new system provides nearly double the bandwidth and double the performance—1.1M input/output operations per second (IOPS)—of its predecessor, the FlashSystem 820. This makes it well-suited for analytical databases, virtualization infrastructures, and public and private clouds. It supports up to 48 terabytes of usable capacity in a 2U unit, and the all-flash array also features IBM MicroLatency technology that speeds data access times from milliseconds to microseconds (less than 135 microseconds), giving organizations faster actionable insights from real-time data analytics. In addition, a new management GUI, as well as data center-optimized features such as hot-swap components and concurrent code load, enables fast installation and easy management, IBM said.

The company also introduced the FlashSystem Enterprise Performance Solution, which bundles the FlashSystem 840 and IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller (SVC) technology. The solution includes a suite of data management features—ranging from real-time compression, snapshots, thin provisioning, vStorage APIs for array integration (VAAI), and application-aware copies, to FlashCopy, and storage virtualization with IBM Easy Tier.

In addition, IBM said it is enhancing its software-defined environment (SDE) portfolio with the new IBM Platform Resource Scheduler for private and hybrid IBM SmartCloud clients that want to accelerate time-to-results, improve infrastructure flexibility and reduce operating costs. IBM Platform Resource Scheduler provides a virtualized, open and programmable architecture that ensures enterprises are taking advantage of all available IT resources—from application software licenses to available network bandwidth.

This dynamic resource management tool is integrated with OpenStack and provides a set of intelligent, policy-driven scheduling features that automatically allocate the right resources to the right job; balances workload demand with infrastructure supply; and ensures adherence to service-level agreements—improving overall application performance and efficiency, IBM said. Its extensible architecture also allows enterprises to easily reconfigure and add customized policies to meet their specific sharing and scheduling needs.

Through the IBM Global Financing arm, the company announced new financing offerings to help clients quickly adopt new cloud and analytics solutions by helping reduce up-front costs and speed ROI. Credit-qualified clients can obtain Fair Market Value leasing when acquiring X6 architecture solutions. Other offerings announced include 0 percent financing and deferred payments for 90 days when they acquire IBM PureSystems, SDE and storage technology. And IBM's mobile financing application can help IBM Business Partners close more business with their clients, allowing credit-qualified clients to acquire financing to deploy solutions for analytics, mobile computing, social business and Smarter Planet technologies quickly, the company said.


Rocket Fuel