Here's a quick overview of the new servers, all of which come with a standard three-year warranty:
Power 710: This 2U single-socket server comes with four, six or eight cores. It can have a maximum of 64 GB of memory with four low-profile PCIe slots. It runs on 100-240 VAC power.
Power 720: This 4U single-socket server comes with 4, 6 or 8 cores. It can have a maximum of 128 GB of memory with four PCIe cards plus four low-profile PCIe cards. It also runs on 100-240 VAC power.
Power 730: This 2U 2-socket server comes with 8, 12 or 16 cores. It can have a maximum of 128 GB of memory with four low-profile PCIe cards. It runs on 200-240 VAC power.
Power 740: This 4U 2-socket server comes with 4, 8, 12 or 16 cores. It can have a maximum of 256 GB of memory with four PCIe cards plus four low-profile PCIe cards. It also runs on 200-240 VAC power.
For a comparison, the 750 is a 4U 4-socket server with 6, 8, 12, 16, 18, 24 or 32 cores, with up to 512 GB of memory and three PCIe cards and two PCI-X cards.
Power 795: This machine can have 24 to 256 cores running at 3.7, 4.0 or 4.25 GHz. Like the 780, the 795 supports TurboCore mode, where half of the cores in a socket are turned off to allow the remaining "enabled" cores to use the shared cache. While TurboCore mode can be deactivated via the ASMI, remember that the entire system is either in TurboCore or MaxCore mode -- you can't mix and match.
These machines can have 8 TB of DDR3 memory when using 32GB DIMMs, with an aggregate memory bandwidth of 4TB per second.
Here are the supported operating systems: AIX 7.1, AIX 6.1TL6, AIX v5.3 TL12 SP1 or later, IBM i 7.1, IBM i 6.1 with 6.1.1 MC or later, VIOS 2.2 or later and HMC V7R720 or later.
While this will be true at GA, on 9/30 we should see support for AIX V5.3 TL10 SP 5, or later and AIX V5.3 TL11 SP 5, or later.According to IBM, customers who upgrade from a 64-core 5 GHz POWER6 595 to a 64-core 4.25 GHz POWER7 795 can obtain 40 percent greater performance while using 35 percent less energy.
I also found this interesting statement in the IBM materials I received:
"rPerf (Relative Performance) is an estimate of commercial processing performance relative to other IBM UNIX systems. rPerf reflects a single image AIX/Linux workload and is derived from an IBM analytical model which uses characteristics from IBM internal workloads such as TPC, SPEC and other benchmarks. Most Power 795 systems will be used to consolidate multiple workloads leveraging multiple PowerVM partitions of various sizes. Starting with the introduction of the Power 795, a new rPerf estimate will be added that represents multiple partitions of smaller sizes. Single image rPerf estimates will continue to be provided up to a maximum of 64 cores."
I think this reflects the reality that most of us carve our servers into multiple LPARs rather than run a giant 256-core 8TB single image of AIX on a 795. (Although, I must admit, it would be fun to be the admin on that one.)
Another thing IBM notes is that a 64-core 795 would use 61 percent less power than a 64-core 595.
Finally, I saw how mirrored hypervisor memory will be available to add additional built in redundancy:
"(Mirrored hypervisor memory) eliminates system outages due to uncorrectable errors in memory by
maintaining two identical copies of the system hypervisor in memory at all times. Both copies are simultaneously updated with any changes, and in the event of a memory failure on the primary copy, the secondary copy will be automatically invoked and a notification sent to IBM via the Electronic Service Agent (ESA)."
In addition to the new hardware, IBM also officially unveiled AIX 7. Here are some key points from that announcement, some of which been covered previously. (See my earlier AIX 7 post, with accompanying links to Nigel Griffiths and Ken Milberg, here.)
AIX 7 will allow vertical scalability for massive workloads with up to 256 cores/1,024 threads in a single AIX partition. AIX 7 will run AIX 5.2 in a WPAR to simplify consolidation of legacy environments on POWER7. I already know of customers who are excited about taking their old applications that are bound to AIX 5.2 and upgrading them onto POWER7/AIX7 WPARs.
AIX 7 will have built in clustering to simplify configuration and management of scale-out workloads and high availability solutions. Its profile-based configuration management will ease the management of pools of AIX systems.
AIX 7 is binary compatible with AIX 6 and AIX 5. Current applications will continue to run; there is no need to recompile applications to work with AIX 7. AIX 7 fully exploits POWER7 processor-based systems, but can also run on systems based on POWER4, POWER5 or POWER6 processors.
Customers can upgrade directly to AIX 7 from AIX 6 and AIX V5; it's a free upgrade for customers with Software Maintenance Agreements (SWMA).
AIX will have solid state disk (SSD) only volume groups, and there are enhancements to the filemon tool to help identify good SSD candidates. This will help you determine which filesystems to put on your more expensive SSD drives.
AIX is available in three different editions:
AIX Standard Edition: Suitable for most UNIX workloads, with vertical scalability up to 256 cores using AIX 7 (or 64 cores using AIX 6).
AIX Enterprise Edition: Simply, this consists of AIX plus enterprise management features. This edition includes AIX Standard Edition plus Systems Director Enterprise Edition and the Workload Partitions Manager for AIX. Vertical scalability up to 256 cores using AIX 7 (64 cores using AIX 6).
AIX Express Edition: This lower priced edition is targeted toward customers with low-end servers or who are looking to consolidate smaller workloads on larger servers. This edition includes most of the functionality of AIX Standard Edition, but vertical scalability is limited to 4 cores and 8GB of memory per core in a single partition. Customers can use multiple AIX Express Edition partitions in a single larger server.
Keep in mind that customers can run any combination of AIX Standard, Express and Enterprise edition on the same server -- for example, you could use AIX Standard for a big database instance and AIX Express for 4-core application server instances.
Take the time to look at the updated facts and features documents. This will allow you to determine which POWER7 servers make the most sense in your environment. Also start thinking about when you should upgrade to AIX 7.