Less Is More With IBM pSeries Line

Key to server consolidation is micro-partitioning, under which a single Power5 processor can be carved into up to 10 LPARs (logical partitions), or virtual servers. Such virtual servers, with their own virtual I/O, can be dynamically provisioned, increased or shrunk automatically to meet business needs, said Karl Freund, vice president of IBM's pSeries line.

The servers will support the current AIX 5L 5.2 Unix operating system and the new binary-compatible AIX 5L 5.3, along with SUSE and Red Hat Linux. The operating systems can be run on separate LPARs within the same processor, Freund said. "This is important as customers test applications for new operating system environments," he said. "They can run an application on part of a processor while carving out resources to test a new version of the application on another part."

Scott Bisbee, brand manager at Champion Solutions, a Boca Raton, Fla.-based IBM solution provider, called micro-partitioning an important part of assisting customers in consolidating their servers.

Features in AIX 5L 5.3 will help turn that partitioning into a cost-accountability feature, Bisbee said, especially as customers take advantage of capacity-on-demand functions for tracking the use of resources. The servers also include pay-as-you-grow functionality. Customers can start with a four-way server, and then add new modules without disrupting operations, he said.

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Wesley Hull, CEO of Atlanta-based IBM partner Paaridian Technologies, called the p5 a "game changing technology" for IBM. Workload management tools, which have been available for the pSeries servers since AIX 4.3, should help customers meet SLA commitments across multiple LPARs with the introduction of AIX 5L 5.3, Hull said.

Three versions of the p5 servers are expected to be released Aug. 31, priced starting at $12,920.