Unix-Linux news and commentary

November 13, 2009  1:38 PM

POWER7 is coming: Here’s a preview

PowerTCO Ken Milberg Profile: PowerTCO

For you IBM Unix (AIX) guys out there – look out, the POWER7 is coming, though I don’t have an exact release date as of yet. For my Unix brethren who are not as familiar with this architecture – this is the next generation of IBM hardware (POWER6 was released in 2007), which AIX runs on exclusively

The Power7 will be based on a single-chip, eight-core cluster of processors – a leap from prior generations of the Power architecture, in which the largest number of CPU cores on a die was two. The chip can scale up to 32 sockets, or 256 CPUs in a single hardware-coherency fabric. This contrasts with PC CPUs, which are intended only for much smaller coherency networks. By balancing execution speed, memory bandwidth and latency – architects who have designed the chip have tried to make systems that can scale up to 256 CPU cores without experiencing a sharp drop-off in performance-per-core.  The way in which they did this – was to not use cache on a separate die in a multi-chip module. It also is set in to weight at 1.2 billion transistors. Power7 bumps both the number of cores and the performance per core over its predecessor – the Power6. Its eight cores will provide support of up to four simultaneous multithreading (SMT4) threads for a total of 32 threads per chip.

Other good news is that along with improvements in the hardware, IBM will improve on its midrange virtualization engine – PowerVM. Innovations include:

  • IBM Systems Director VMControl, which will provide clients a tool to manage heterogeneous virtual servers. In doing so – it will allow users to discover, display, monitor and locate virtual resources; create and manage virtual servers; and deploy and manage workloads with a common interface across IBM System z (mainframes) System x (x86) and Power Systems (AIX, Linux and System i/AS400) platforms.
  • One of the virtualization enhancements will be to allow clients to consolidate up to 1,000 virtual machines per system – up from a max of 254 with the Power5 and Power6.

Furthermore – folks that currently have Power6 and Power6+ iron today will have an upgrade path into the new boxes. Rumors are also that AIX 7 may follow the Power7 iron about 3 months after its release – though AIX 6.1 will get patches to support the Power7 chips. I don’t have any information yet about AIX 5.3 support. I will update the group when more information comes in and also when in 2010 the official release of the Power7 will be.

August 4, 2009  9:08 AM

Hello world!

PowerTCO Ken Milberg Profile: PowerTCO

Welcome to IT Knowledge Exchange and to my Blog! I’ve been chomping at the bit for awhile and am real pleased that we’re ready to get started. Where should I start? Perhaps the hardest aspect of a Blog is the first post. But I’m ready to go! In this post, I will discuss the goals of the blog – as well as a little about myself. There’s so much out there in terms of Unix and Linux information – yet oftentimes it is so difficult to find useful relevant up-to-date information on Unix and Linux. For example – we all know the top Unix flavors, AIX, HP-UX and Solaris. What are some of fundamental differences between these flavors? What are some of the recent innovations that IBM, HP and SUN have added on their UNIX products? What are the virtualization approaches of these UNIX platforms? Further – how does Linux fit into the mix? Is it really enterprise ready? Are enterprise companies really using Linux for their mission critical databases or is Linux still in that glass-house. What is it about Linux that makes it different? How many of us understand really the different hardware platforms that one can run Linux on – everything from commodity based x86 servers, to hardware from the top UNIX vendors, to the IBM Mainframe. How does Linux run differently on these different platforms and which platform should you run Linux on?

What is new in the Unix and Linux worlds? What new hardware offerings have the big-three offered and who is really doing cross-platform virtualization.

A little about me – if I may. I have 20+ years of overall experience with Unix and Linux systems – as an engineer, system administrator, systems manager, project and program manager. I also have senior management experience as an MIS Director and CIO – buying and deploying Unix and Linux based solutions. Currently – I’m the head of a System Integration company specializing in Unix and Linux solutions – PowerTCO. While I’m probably closer to IBM’s offerings; as the President of an IBM Business Partner, the founder and leader of the NY Metro PowerAIX/Linux UG, a technical editor and writer for IBM Systems Magazine and IBM developerWorks – I’m also certified in HP-UX and Solaris and am actively involved in their communities as well. I also have just written a new Unix book, which is being published by MC Press – “Driving the Power of AIX” – scheduled to be out in the bookstores this fall.

My goal is to make this blog an important bookmark for you – to take the time out of your busy day, to read the musings of someone very close to all the goings-on, technically and community-based for Unix and Linux. I will strive to make this an important part of the Unix/Linux technical information you rely on and news which you may be searching for. I hope to do that – with a little ‘bit of humor, because at the end of the day – its not rocket science or robotics surgery. Let’s get dirty, but also have some fun, 🙂

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