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New Servers Designed for Smaller Environments

February 14, 2017

In my consulting work, I see a number of customers with small machines running critical workloads that don't incorporate virtualization. Because these workloads aren't necessarily memory- or CPU-intensive, these customers see no need to set up multiple LPARs. They just want a stand-alone system.

The challenge for many of these customers is that, from a technology standpoint, they're lagging behind. The hardware is old, and the risks of doing business on older, unsupported systems are substantial.

IBM understands this, and today (Feb. 14), the company is making some announcements to address the modest but pressing needs of these customers.

First, IBM is unveiling the 2U S812 (8284-21A) server. It will come in two flavors: a single-core server for IBM i and a 4-core server for AIX workloads. The form factor is a rack mount system; there aren't any options for a tower.

These systems will be available in e-config on Feb. 28, and will be generally available on March 17.

Again, this server is designed for a particular subset of customers: those that run AIX or IBM i in a single partition, and don't use virtualization. This server is not intended for Linux workloads; use the Linux-only or other existing hardware models for them.

The IBM i centric single-core server is a 3.02 GHz POWER8 processor with a maximum of 64G of memory. It has six hot pluggable PCIe Gen3 low profile slots?five if an SAS backplane with write cache is used.

The system supports a maximum of 25 users. It can run IBM i 7.2 or 7.3.

You can add a DVD drive, but there's no bay for tape or RDX in the system unit. The system has 900W power supplies that can take either 110V or 220V power. You cannot add an I/O drawer, but you could add in fibre adapters to attach to external SAN disk.

The AIX flavor is a 4-core 3.02 GHz POWER8 processor with a maximum of 128G of memory. There's room for six hot pluggable PCIe Gen3 low profile cards, although, as with the IBM i flavor, only five slots are available if you use the SAS backplane with write cache. There is no option to virtualize the system, but you can add in up to three EXP24S or EXP24SX expansion drawers for up to 72 additional drives. It will run AIX 6.1, 7.1 or 7.2, and also has the 900W 110V or 220V power supplies.

Also announced today is an option for the E880C virtual solution edition for SAP HANA. This is a 48-core 4.02 GHz POWER8 processor system with 2 TB of memory.

In addition, there will be changes with the HMC. As 500G drives become less available, IBM will be switching to 1 TB drives for use in the HMC, with the option to have a second disk with a matching capacity.

Finally, there's another option for the RDX docking station. This will be the EUA4, which is a follow-up to the EU04.

Search the relevant IBM announcement letters for details. You'll also want to check for information about some products that are being withdrawn from marketing.

Posted February 14, 2017 | Permalink

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