IBM Power Systems Buyer's Guide
November 5, 2010
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Over the course of 2010, Big Blue introduced a new lineup of Power servers based on Power7.
"These workload-optimized systems, which are now available and shipping to customers around the world, are designed specifically to handle emerging applications that require real-time processing and management of enormous amounts of data-driven transactions," said Howard. "Scenarios in which an enormous amount of data needs to be captured and analyzed in milliseconds include smart electrical grids, advanced medical research projects and electronic trading."
In February, IBM introduced four systems: the Power 780 for the high end, as well as the Power 770, the Power 755 computing cluster and the Power 750 Express midrange business server. That was followed in April by the BladeCenter PS700, PS701 and PS702 Express, and in August by the high-end Power 795, a new one-socket Power 710 and 720, and two-socket Power 730 and 740 Express models, as well as a Smart Analytics System.
"Power7 addresses innovation at all levels of the stack -- hardware, storage, middleware, systems software," said Howard. "For those nearing capacity limits for energy, space and cooling in data centers, consolidating older systems to the new high-end Power 795 could result in more headroom -- with energy reductions of up to 75 percent for equivalent performance capacity."
Power7 enables four times as many processor cores to be supported compared to Power6. And PowerVM virtualization software makes it possible for users to run more than 1,000 virtual servers on one physical system.
Howard calls attention to the 256-core Power 795, which uses IBM EnergyScale technology to vary the processor frequency depending on workloads. Howard said this makes it five times more energy efficient compared to comparable servers from Oracle and HP. It supports up to 8 terabytes of memory and provides more than four times the performance in the same energy envelope as the fastest Power 595 IBM Power6 processor-based system.
The Power 795 server is designed for large-scale transaction processing and database applications within a virtualized infrastructure. As the most powerful member of the Power family, it may be deployed in configurations ranging from 24- to 256-core systems. Typical net prices for Power 795 hardware may range from approximately $500,000 to more than $5 million for the highest-end versions.
As a point of comparison, the Power 710 Express can start as low as $6,385. This one-socket model provides 8 GB to 64 GB of RAM and up to eight Power7 cores.
Where is IBM taking Power in the future? Howard points out that the company has invested $3.2 billion in Power7 systems in the past three and a half years. This level of investment will continue to fulfill existing roadmaps for this processor and its associated servers.
"IBM continues to make substantial investments in Power Systems as an important, strategic element in the IBM product portfolio," said Howard.
IBM POWER Servers, At a Glance
Drew Robb is a freelance writer specializing in technology and engineering. Currently living in California, he is originally from Scotland, where he received a degree in geology and geography from the University of Strathclyde. He is the author of Server Disk Management in a Windows Environment (CRC Press).