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IBM revs Power Systems servers, software

The newly released IBM Power Systems platforms feature faster processors, more cores and new management features. IBM touts the new offerings' ability to scale, process more workload and save on licensing fees.

On Oct.7, Armonk, N.Y.-based IBM Corp. announced details on its soon-to-be-released Power Systems for midrange customers seeking to run either AIX Unix or System i operating systems. IBM touts its new Power offerings' ability to scale as companies grow, enable servers to process more workload with fewer cores and, potentially, to save companies money on licensing savings.

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IBM's new Power 570 midrange server includes new processor cards that double the number of cores in the same system footprint as other comparable systems. The system begins at four cores and can be upgraded to a full 32-core single-system image (32-core SMP). It also allows IT administrators to install server hardware components without having to shut down the system when the time comes for growth. "You can update the firmware while it is running, and workloads can be moved while running, so we are increasing uptime for organizations," said Scott Handy, vice president of worldwide marketing and strategy for Power Systems.

IBM also announced that the Power 570/16, which supports from two to 16 Power 6 cores and processor speeds of 4.4 GHz up to 5.0 GHz -- the fastest of the Power 6 processors -- previously available only in the top of the line Power 595. Also, the new Power 570/32 has twice the number of cores for performance and efficiency within the same system footprint as previous 570 systems.

We have gotten more aggressive with the 570 systems.
Scott Handy,
VP of worldwide marketing and strategy, Power SystemsIBM Corp.

"We have gotten more aggressive with the 570 systems," Hardy said.

As is par for the course with new releases, IBM claimed its new Power System servers are leaps and bounds ahead in terms of performance and energy efficiency than the competition. IBM stated that the Power 570/32 has 2.4 times the performance per watt compared with its competitor's comparable server, Sun Microsystems, Inc.'s Sparc M8000 system, and claimed the new Power 570 has more than twice the performance per core and more than twice the performance per watt as HP's 9000 Superdome Server.

"These systems do more with fewer cores, which is important, because software vendors typically charge licensing fees based on the number of cores on a system," Handy said. chooses IBM Power Systems
During the teleconference, IBM customer Kris Ongbongan, systems manager for the online retailer a href="" target="_blank">, vouched for IBM's systems. has more than 3 million units of inventory and conducts between $2 million and $3 million of business every day, using exclusively IBM servers including the IBM Power 570 systems running Linux to host the company's databases. Zappos also uses IBM BladeCenter, IBM System Storage and IBM WebSphere technologies.

"Our entire business runs on servers that fit in just six cabinets," Ongbongan said. Zappos chose "the IBM Power 570 … because of its scalability; we simply add more processing power and memory as we need it."

Ongbongan said he also considered servers from Sun Microsystems, Inc. but they didn't cut it for his applications. "We also looked at Sun, but the push for IBM was their performance; we run MySQL and even though it is a Sun product, it actually runs better on IBM's systems," Ongbongan said.

Currently, the company is in the process of updating its disaster recovery site with IBM Power6 microprocessors and plans to use IBM Live Partition Mobility continuous availability capabilities for new application development and testing.

More IBM Power Systems hardware, software
IBM also introduced the Power 560 Express; a new Power6 server model that sits between the Power 550 and Power 570. The Power 560 comes in four-core, eight-core and 16-core configurations and is designed to help businesses consolidate multiple Unix, i (IBM's new name for i5/OS) or Linux workloads onto smaller footprints.

In addition, IBM announced the following:

  • The Power 520 Express and Power 550 Express with four-core and eight-core options for i editions, and AIX and Linux users can now add i on the same system.
  • The JS12 blade server running in an IBM BladeCenter chassis pre-installed with i and attached to low-cost DS3200 storage to create a storage area network (SAN).
  • Enhanced reliability, availability and serviceability (RAS) features for hot node-add and repair for Power 570 and Power 595 servers.

The new Power 570/32, 570/16 and 560, expanded capabilities of the Power 550 and 520 systems and the new SAN options on blades run any combination of AIX, i, and Red Hat or Novell Linux, and, on Nov. 21, will be generally available worldwide.

Meanwhile, on the software front, IBM also announced several new Power Systems features, including a beta version of its Unix, Linux and IBM i virtualization platform IBM Systems Director, a new foundation for enterprise platform management, helps multiple physical and virtual systems play well together in a heterogeneous platform and OS environment.

The company also announced a new version of Active Energy Manager, which brings energy control extensions to IBM Systems Director. The feature puts idle processors in "nap" mode. It also allows users to set an energy cap for a single Power6 server or a pool of Power6-based servers, Handy said.

Let us know what you think about the story; email Bridget Botelho, News Writer.

Also, check out our data center blogs: Server Farming, Mainframe Propellerhead, and Data Center Facilities Pro

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