The iSeries Blog

May 30 2007   6:37AM GMT

Does System i need Power6 right away?

Mark Fontecchio Mark Fontecchio Profile: Mark Fontecchio

Maybe IBM announced Power6-based servers on System p before System i because System i doesn’t need Power6 as badly. It all comes down to System p customers hungering for more and more processing power. Meanwhile, System i folks can take advantage of features like capacity on demand and get by until the Power6-based i machines hit the market.

That’s just another reason to focus the POWER6 on the Unix world. If Unix is constantly hungry for more power . . . but the System i world is relatively not as hungry . . . no wonder IBM has had a tough time making quarterly financial reports that show positive revenue growth for the System i group.

Sure, every hardware manufacturer has this same problem, but I can’t help but believe it hits the System i harder than others.

4  Comments on this Post

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  • Michael Ruth
    In this article you mention that I series doesn't need Power6 because of COD. I thought the P series had that as well?
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  • Craig Welch
    We may be unique but we run SAP on System i. In our direct marketing world, customer service wants the best response time available. I have a different yardstick for measuring what we need. Total CPW is still important so we don't overload, but perhaps even more important is CPW per Processor. We currently have a 3 terabyte database and we run our 570 12-way pretty hard. While we could benefit from adding another processor, past history has shown that a faster processor has a much higher payback. Granted, it's only as good as the supporting disk i/o and memory, but we saw a very significant improvement just going from the power 5 to the power 5+. Another reason it's important is the delta cost of going from a 570 to a 595. There is a pretty significant price bump to upgrade models, so if speeding up the processor can help us stay within the mid priced model, it's a big $$ benefit. Not a money maker for IBM to avoid that jump but good for us. Companies running SAP on system i are not as common as I'd like, but with the constant improvements in server performance and better price points, I still have hope that it will take off.
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  • Mark Fontecchio
    Craig, that's a really interesting story. Are you planning on upgrading to the P6 System i when it comes out next year? I'd be interested in staying in touch for when it does. Michael, you're right that System p has CoD as well. I think the point of the original article was that most System i folks in general (there are definitely exceptions like Craig running SAP on i) can get by with CoD, while more System p folks just need a faster engine.
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  • Craig Welch
    Hi Mark, We're working on coming up with a plan to get to Power 6 when it becomes available. We have now purchased the SAP Netweaver ERP Suite and the thirst for resources seems almost unquenchable. Java/portals will be rolling out along with additional SAP components for the next 6-10 months. I have been running SAP on System i for the last 7 years and on Sun Solaris(UNIX) for 6 years before that (different company). The ability to run 2000 named SAP users (Global) on 2-tier on system i has proven to be quite beneficial from a systems management standpoint. The turning point for performance (starting on a 740 w/200 users, then an 840 with another 3-400) was when we went to an 870. As nice as the 870 was, we still had what we call outlyer transactions (temporary slow downs). Since going to the Power 5, then the power 5+ we have had our performance related help desk calls basically stop. We also are running SAP Business Warehouse (1.5 TB) on a 550 (P5+). I expect a tremendous performance boost there if I can get it to fit into an LPAR on a Power6 570 or if IBM comes out with a Power 6 550 model. Craig
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