IBM Goes High, Low With New Power, PureSystems Solutions

IBM this week updated its Power7 server line with the company's latest Power7+ processors while expanding the line at the entry-level with its first Unix servers priced less than $6,000.

The company also unveiled new PureSystems converged infrastructure solutions with new reference architectures for its PureFlex systems, as well as a new entry-level PureApplication System for Web and database applications, and it increased performance for its PureData big data appliances.

The new servers and PureSystems solutions, which IBM is targeting at Linux as well as Unix environments, provide a new level of scalability to customers and solution providers, said Bradley McCredie, vice president for IBM Power systems and an IBM Fellow.

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"In addition to having a brand new technology in the Power7+ systems, we're bringing the price of AIX systems way down to under $6,000," McCredie said. "We believe that, with the scalability of the new technology, we can address new markets in a very, very price-competitive way compared to x86-based systems."

IBM's Power7 server line started getting updated last August with the Power7+ processor, which differs from the Power7 processor in that it has a larger per-core L3 cache, improved clock speeds and the ability to handle more logical partitions (LPARs).

The initial rollout of the Power7+ family started with the high-end Power 770 and Power 780 servers, but it had not been extended across the entire line, McCredie said

It includes the entry-level Power 710, a single-socket 2U rack mount server that can be configured with up to eight processor cores and up to 256 GB of memory and carries a starting price of $5,947, he said.

IBM also added the Power7+ processor to its PowerLinux line of servers designed specifically for the Linux operating system, he said.

IBM, via its Power line of servers, provides attractive price points in scale-out server environments, McCredie said.

"These are high-density Linux environments where customers look at the number of virtual machines per dollar they can get," he said. "If you want to get as many applications in a frame as possible, the best choice is a Power server, which includes all the security and reliability of the Power7+ processors."

NEXT: Updates To IBM's PureSystems Solutions

IBM also updated its PureSystems solutions, which is a converged infrastructure architecture that combines the company's server, storage, networking and management technologies into a single integrated platform based on x86 or Power7+ processors.

The new solutions are aimed at helping increase support for new customer environments, especially for managed service providers, said Peter McCaffrey, director of IBM PureSystems.

The first PureSystems update is the addition of several new tested reference architectures for the IBM PureFlex line, which provides a cloud-based infrastructure.

New for the IBM PureFlex is a managed service provider edition for accelerated cloud deployments, a virtual desktop infrastructure (VDI) solution and a solution for interfacing with customers' existing IP networks and storage infrastructures, McCaffrey said.

IBM is also introducing a new entry-level model to its PureSystems Application System, which offers cloud-ready platforms for transactional Web and database applications. The new model can be configured with as few as 32 x86 processor cores and is upgradable to up to 64 cores, McCaffrey said. Previously, the entry point was 96 cores.

Also new is a Power7+-based PureSystems Application System that starts at 96 processor cores, McCaffrey said.

"We've essentially broadened both ends of the PureSystems Application System family," he said.

IBM also updated its PureData System for Analytics big data analytics solution based on IBM's Netezza software. The latest version includes a combination of new x86 processors and higher-performance hard drives to provide a data scan rate of 12 GB per second and 50 percent more storage capacity per rack, he said.