IBM Unveils Power7+ Systems, Storage, Mainframe Software

IBM introduced new technology to advance its Smarter Computing initiative, including new Power Systems based on its Power7+ processors, along with new storage systems and mainframe software.

IBM unveiled new Power Systems and other technology aimed at helping enterprises improve security, leverage cloud computing and manage big data.

As a result of more than $1.4 billion in R&D investment, Big Blue announced its enterprise Power Systems with hardware and software innovations designed to help customers gain business insights fast and securely. These are IBM’s most powerful Power Systems to date.

IBM Power 770 and Power 780 servers now feature the new Power7+ microprocessor, which offers a performance boosts of 30 to 40 percent on application workloads compared with previous versions, IBM said. Among its many features, the Power7+ offers an expanded 2.5x L3 cache memory, greater security with faster file encryption for the IBM AIX operating system, and memory compression that results in no increased energy usage over previous-generation Power7 chips.

At the top of the Power line, the Power 795 server has been enhanced to enable customers to run very demanding applications, such as business analytics, fast by using up to 16 terabytes of memory with new 64GB dual in-line memory modules (DIMMs).

In addition, IBM has added several new capabilities to its family of Power Systems servers to help customers build virtualized private cloud or managed service cloud infrastructures, and respond dynamically to changes in application and workload requirements. Elastic Capacity on Demand for Power Systems Pools, for example, enables the sharing of resources across multiple servers, which can improve the availability and enhance the access to resources during planned and unplanned maintenance activities.

Also, when managing a cloud-based infrastructure with IBM PowerVM virtualization software, customers can now more easily move individual server partitions to quickly balance resources in reaction to changing business needs. Single virtual machines can be moved three times faster and concurrent migrations can occur up to 4.7 times faster than with previous versions.

The average corporate IT infrastructure is cyber-attacked nearly 60,000 times every day and the average total organizational cost of a data breach is $5.5 million, making security one of the top priorities of an enterprise, IBM said. To enhance data security and regulatory compliance, IBM PowerSC security and compliance software along with Trusted Surveyor has been updated and now provides real-time security alerts and delivers improved compliance reporting.

IBM’s Oct. 3 announcement is part of the company’s continued focus on Smarter Computing systems aimed at solving the varied challenges enterprises are facing, from security vulnerabilities to managing ballooning data volumes that are expanding through social and mobile technologies.

IBM customer Toyota Australia is one example of a company with complex data management needs. Running a sophisticated just-in-time manufacturing, logistics and parts operation at its Altona plant in Melbourne, Toyota Australia uses a series of IBM Power servers running SAP software on AIX to manage and analyze data about vehicle parts availability, shipping estimates, inventory levels and sales planning.

"One of our company's top concerns is data management delays. This has the potential to negatively impact our production line, costing us tens of thousands of dollars in lost productivity, and the profits of our 250 dealerships across the country,” Toyota Australia CIO James Scott said in a statement. “Having a fast, reliable technology infrastructure is critical to the success of our business and IBM gives us the tools we need to support the organization most effectively."

Meanwhile, IBM introduced its new IBM System Storage DS8870, which is a member of the company’s DS8000 family of “high-density” enterprise-classs storage systems. Upgraded with the advanced IBM POWER7 processors and up to 1TB of system cache, the DS8870 delivers up to three times more performance for transaction processing applications than the current DS8800 model. What’s more, according to the Storage Performance Council, the DS8870 has also achieved the No. 1 ranking in its standardized SPC-2 benchmark result. In addition, the DS8870 comes standard with self-encrypting drives for additional security.

On the tape storage front, IBM updated the IBM Virtualization Engine TS7700 Release 3, a system that melds virtualization with magnetic tape. The system is an update of the TS7700 Enterprise Virtual Tape Library System, which is typically used in enterprises powered by mainframes and is designed to help administrators virtualize their existing tape storage systems. The Virtualization Engine takes the system to new levels of each, with end-to-end encryption and the ability to connect up to six systems in a grid architecture for greater access to information, as well as redundancy.

Moreover, the new Technical Computing for Big Data solution includes IBM's General Parallel File System (GPFS), an advanced file management platform often used in high-performance computing environments for storing and delivering large volumes of data for weather modeling, oil exploration and digital media production. Combining GPFS with the latest IBM Platform Symphony scheduler and application platform, as well as the IBM Intelligent Cluster, delivers enterprise clients a scalable, high-performance environment for analytics.

IBM also announced software for its newest mainframe—the zEnterprise EC12 unveiled Aug. 28. The zEC12 is one of the first systems to run transaction-processing applications and analytics applications on one machine, enabling users to receive and analyze structured business data in real time. Now, IBM is making it simpler, faster and more affordable to run analytics on System z with the new IBM DB2 Analytics Accelerator V3 appliance that can speed response times for analytics to provide business insights and results. The Accelerator can also reduce the need to store data on disk drives in the mainframe by 95 percent, which can dramatically lower storage costs.

IBM is extending its popular transaction processor, CICS (Customer Information Control System), to help zEnterprise users build private cloud environments that can support a high volume of customer transactions. With the new CICS 5.1 portfolio, interactive applications such as ATM systems, bank-teller applications and insurance applications can be made available in the cloud, IBM said.

The new IBM Security zSecure Suite V1.31.1 enhances security intelligence by spotting unusual activity before the system is compromised, monitoring for threats with real-time alerts and network behavior analytics, and managing security audits. Integration with QRadar security information and event management (SIEM) technology provides enterprise-wide security monitoring, IBM added.

In addition to the systems and storage updates, IBM announced a software-defined networking (SDN) controller for its enterprise networking portfolio. The new IBM Programmable Network Controller provides intelligent software for IBM RackSwitch and other OpenFlow-enabled switches. Through OpenFlow, users can create virtual networks with the scalability and flexibility required to respond to business changes in cloud and mobile services environments, IBM said.