The iSeries Blog

Sep 3 2010   3:41PM GMT

IBM user group sees benefits in Power7 machines, but what about former System i users?

Ryan Arsenault Ryan Arsenault Profile: Ryan Arsenault

IBM user group Common recently declared its love for the new cost- and energy-efficient IBM Power7 line of machines announced in part in February and completed in August. 

Included in the most recent rollout were the IBM Power 795; Power 710, 720, 730 and 740 Express models; i Solution Editions; and i Edition Express for BladeCenter S, the latter which integrates IBM i and Windows blades in the same chassis.

But what does this embracement and new line of systems really mean for Common members, especially those affected by the pSeries/i Series merger just a couple years back?

When IBM first announced [the merger], I was very skeptical about what type of benefits the iSeries users would get from a merged platform,” said Pete Massiello, Common President.  “But since the announcement, it has become very evident that we have greatly benefitted in the delivery of newer hardware at a lower cost, and new hardware and technology delivered faster to the IBM i community.”

Massiello specifically cites the total cost of new hardware, memory and disk drives being much higher pre-merger, and, if not for the merger, customers may have never seen the solid disk drives introduced to the IBM i last year.

The only caveat to the new systems for i users, says Massiello?

The new machines do require that customers are running either IBM i 6.1.1 or 7.1,” he noted. “But we have been offering educational sessions and webcasts on these for some time now to help our members and the entire i community upgrade their operating system.

The bang-for-your-buck theory also holds truer with this generation, according to Massiello, because of the large amount of CPW per core for your dollar.

I doubt that IBM would have been able to deliver what they did at this low of a price-point had the merger not happened,” he mentioned.

(See one such example of CPW performance data from the Power 795 server).

Another item that Massiello is excited about for Common users as a whole in the new Power systems is the virtualization of I/O option – Virtual I/O Server, or VIOS. 

This primary partition virtualizes all the I/O to the other partitions on the server.  We know that IBM i can also virtualize I/O, but not to the extent that VIOS can,” said Massiello. What VIOS does better is that it attaches natively to many different external disks and storage area networks (SANs), and can then virtualizes those disks to IBM i.  IBM i doesn’t have to know how to attach to all these SANs.  IBM writes it once in VIOS and then VIOS can virtualize the disks to IBM i so that IBM i doesn’t care about the physical disks.  This gives customers more options.”  Options, again, that continue the theme of not being possible without a platform merger.

To learn more about Common, check out their website, and see more on the recent Power7 systems announcement.

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