IBM to Unveil New iDataPlex Array at VMworld

At the VMworld show, IBM will roll out the newest version of its iDataPlex server array, which is designed to pack as much compute power as possible into standard 42U servers. The newest model includes support for VMware's vSphere 4 platform and offers greater performance and energy efficiency than previous versions. At the show, IBM also will unveil new virtual networking technologies and a power metering offering developed with VMware for virtualized environments.

IBM officials will unveil new server and networking technologies at the VMworld 2009 show, and will also outline a technology developed with VMware to help businesses keep tabs on the energy efficiency of platforms and workloads.

VMworld runs Aug. 31-Sept. 4 in San Francisco.

IBM will officially announce the latest version of its iDataPlex server array, which the company introduced last year. The system is aimed at dense computing environments and looks to put as much computing power as possible into a standard 42U rack.

The newest iDataPlex array-the iDataPlex dx360 M2-offers 40 percent more performance per watt than similar offerings from competitors, and consumes 8 fewer watts than previous versions, according to IBM officials. Wendy McGee, director of IBM's Systems and Technology Group's System x platform and iDataPlex and HPC (high-performance computing) brand, said new virtualization capabilities makes the iDataPlex perfect for cloud computing environments.

The iDataPlex dx360 M2 has more memory-at 128GB-than previous versions, and also supports VMware's vSphere virtualization platform. It's also powered by Intel's Xeon 5500 Series "Nehalem EP" processors.

"Additionally, IBM's innovative rear door heat exchanger allows customers to create the most dense cloud environment with no or minimal requirement for computer room air-conditioning, thereby reducing the overall operational expense, a key challenge for large cloud deployments," McGee said in an e-mail.

Voltaire will use the new iDataPlex model in its upcoming global cloud computing resource center at the University of California, where developers and IT managers will be able to test cloud-based applications. The center also will keep a running list of test results and cloud computing solutions created there.

In addition, IBM will unveil the BladeCenter Virtual Fabric, which will use Emulex's Virtual Fabric Adapter for BladeCenter and Blade Network Technologies' 10-port 10 Gigabit Ethernet Switch Module. The goal is to reduce complexity and drive down costs by enabling up to eight virtual ports per Virtual Fabric adapter.

It also enables users to gear up for growing networking technologies, including Fibre Channel over Ethernet and Single Root IO Virtualization.

IBM and VMware also will preview a power metering technology they've jointly developed that is designed to enable users to drill down on the energy efficiency of specific platforms and workloads. It will be able to provide such data as aggregate and per-VM power metrics in compute clusters.

The metering technology is one of several projects that IBM and VMware are working on, and the latest example of an ongoing relationship between the two vendors, IBM's McGee said.

"IBM has been working with VMware for over 10 years on many joint activities, the most recent being our work together on scale-up servers," she said. "VMware used the IBM x3950 M2 as the reference platform for developing and testing scale-up single-system on their recent vSphere 4 product. The two companies worked together to address customers' concerns for a platform that is reliable, highly scalable, energy efficient and can virtualize their mission-critical applications."