Last week I told you this week’s blog would focus a bit on the hardware and I/O that was announced, from the IBM i point of view. To get that perspective, I asked Mark Olson, the IBM Power Systems Product Manager, to make a guest appearance, and he kindly agreed. So, let’s get to it. Here’s Mark.
Tuesday, February 5, we announced some really sweet hardware enhancements to the Power Systems product line. Let me point out the highlights. Continuing with the POWER7+ introduction started late last year with the Power 770 and 780, we carried this POWER7+ refresh into the popular Power 710, 720, 730, 740 and 750. We also created a new model 760. This POWER7+ refresh was the biggest part of the announcement, but there were several other things that added to banquet.
Though you can find IBM i clients using any and all of the Power Systems models and there are significant price performance improvements for all these models, the Power 720 is the model selected by a large percentage of IBM i clients. So let me focus on it as an example. The POWER7+ refresh provides the 720 with faster GHz and up to 2X the maximum memory. The POWER7 720 is a 3 GHz server. The POWER7+ is a 3.6 GHz server. And the POWER7+ chip proves 150% more L3 cache (10MB vs 4MB per core). Combined with some very attractive pricing on the processor features and new memory features, clients are really going to appreciate the price performance improvements.
For those clients who haven't yet stepped up to IBM i 7.1, IBM i 6.1 is supported on the POWER7+ 710/720/730/740/750/760/770/780. But there is a new twist to this support statement. We are announcing a new optional hardware feature code on the POWER7+ 710/720/730/740/770/780 called IBM i 6.1 Native I/O Enablement (#EB34). If ordered, #EB34 generates a VET code that enables the IBM i 6.1 to directly access its I/O with or without using an IBM i 7.1 partition or using VIOS. There is a modest price for #EB34. If you want to run IBM i 6.1 without #EB34 on the POWER7+ server, you can do that. However, in that case all the I/O for the 6.1 partition (disk or SSD or tape or LAN, but not WAN comm adapters) has to be owned by either an IBM i 7.1 partition or VIOS. IBM i 6.1 will be a client only partition with this scenario.
There were some nice solid state drive (SSD) or flash memory enhancements. First, the most powerful, most dense SSD drawer Power Systems has ever introduced was supported on the POWER7+ models. This is the EXP30 Ultra SSD I/O Drawer. It has some impressive headlines: up to 480,000 I/O Operations per Second, up to 11.6 TB capacity in only 1 U of space with zero PCIe slots. Second, we announced IBM i 7.1 TR6 support of this SSD option. It is a very powerful addition to our existing SSD options IBM i clients already enjoy. Finally, we introduced 6-pack and 4-pack SSD features that provide a 20-percent list price reduction and can be ordered with a new server.
There were a number of removable media enhancements. For convenience, IBM i 7.1 TR6 supports USB memory sticks in the USB ports of the POWER7/POWER7+ system units. SAS LTO-6 tape drives are introduced for the half-high bays of the 720/740 and in the 1U 7226 media drawer. An LTO-6 drive provides 2X the capacity and improved performance for a price only slightly higher than the existing LTO-5 drive. For entry save/restore clients, a new 1.5 TB RDX cartridge provides 50 percent more capacity.
Two new high performance PCIe Gen2 adapters were announced. The first is a 2-port 16Gb Fibre Channel adapter. This card can also be used with existing 4 Gb and/or 8 Gb FC switches for clients who already have 16 Gb switches or who prefer to buy an adapter with the flexibility to support larger capacity links in the future We also introduced a 4-port Ethernet card. Two of the ports are 10Gb SR optical and two of the ports are 1 Gb RJ45 ports. It's like having two Ethernet cards but only using one PCIe slot. The 10 Gb ports can run both NIC and FCoE data streams, but IBM i supports just the NIC at this time. IBM i leverages VIOS for support of both of these cards.
The last hardware highlight I'd like to point out is enhanced support of the SVC, V7000 Storewize and V3700. NPIV (N_Port ID Virtualization) is added to the existing VSCSI support of these IBM storage solutions. Plus we shared a statement of direction (SOD) for planned native support of the V3700 with IBM i 7.1.
February 5 was a really good day!