Enhanced I/O options for Power Systems

Multiple I/O enhancements for POWER7 and POWER7+ servers are announced including SR-IOV, Easy TierR function, an additional Ethernet adapter, expanded SAS adapter support, and more.

SR-IOV is supported for NIC workloads with the feature #EN0H and #EN0K adapters or the feature #EN10 and #EN11 integrated multifunction cards (IMFCs) on the POWER7+ 770 or 780 server with the latest 7.8 firmware on the server. SR-IOV can provide simple virtualization without VIOS with greater efficiency and also provide quality of service controls. SR-IOV can also be combined with VIOS to provide higher virtualization function as well as quality of service controls.

An additional 4-port Ethernet adapter with 10Gb and 1Gb ports is announced for the these POWER7+ servers: Power 710, 720, 730, 740, 750, 760, 770, and 780 servers and PowerLinux 7R1, 7R2, and 7R4. The adapter should be ordered as #EN0K for full-high PCIe slots and as #EN0L/#EL3C for low profile slots. #EN0K, #EN0L, and #EL3C when using active copper twinax cabling for the 10Gb ports instead of optical cabling. The adapter supports NIC and FCoE workloads. SR-IOV is supported on the POWER7+ 770 or 780 servers.

Two IMFCs are announced for the Power 770 and 780 "C" and "D" models, providing four Ethernet ports, one serial port, and two USB ports. All four of the Ethernet ports can be 10Gb Ethernet ports, and two of them support the lower-cost CAT6 RJ45 cabling (10G-BaseT capability). The other two 10Gb ports use either active copper twinax (#EN10) or SR fiber optic (#EN11) cabling. These new IMFC options (#EN10, #EN11) are added to the existing 770 and 780 IMFC options (#1768, #1769). SR-IOV is supported on the POWER7+ 770 and 780 servers.

The Easy Tier function is announced for the #EJ0L PCIe Gen3 large cache SAS adapters. Conceptually, this function is like the Easy Tier function found in the IBM Storage products such as the IBM DS8000, Storwize V7000, or SVC, but implemented just within the Power Systems servers and their I/O drawers. Hot data is automatically moved to SSD and cold data is automatically moved to disk (HDD) in an AIX, Linux, or VIOS environment. No user application coding is required. (IBM i already has a similar tiering function available across all SAS controllers.)

Clients commonly have this hot/cold characteristic for their data. It is typical for 10% - 20% of the data to be accessed 80% - 90% of the time. This is called the "hot" data. If you can get the hot data onto SSDs, it can dramatically improve the performance of I/O-bound applications. By keeping the cold data on HDDs, the total cost per gigabyte of the solution can be minimized. You can end up total cost per GB of the solution can be minimized. You can end up with high I/O performance at a very reasonable price. By avoiding the need for lots of HDD arms for performance, you can reduce the number of I/O drawers, maintenance, rack/floor space, and energy.

Previously announced PCIe Gen3 adapters (January 2014) and the Gen2 SAS adapter (October 2013) are now supported for SSD and HDD attachment on more models.

The IBM Flash Adapter 90 is supported is expanded to cover more models. In addition to the existing Power 720, 730, 740 and 7R2 support, it is now supported on the Power 750, 760, 770 and 780 servers (8408-E8D, 9109-RMD, 9117-MMD, and 9179-MHD.

Support is enhanced for three sets of existing I/O features with IBM i 7.1 TR8. The 16 Gb Fibre Channel adapter (#EN0A/#EN0B) is now supported "natively" meaning without requiring VIOS. Plus IBM i 7.1 TR8 now can support the IMFC (#EN10/EN11) and Ethernet adapters (#EN0H/EN0J) without requiring VIOS by using SR-IOV where SRIOV is available. Previously this I/O was supported by IBM i only through VIOS.

Several I/O announcements enhance Power Systems I/O, especially for SAS RAID adapters.

Two new PCIe Gen3 SAS adapters introduce the next generation of IBM SAS adapter technology to exploit the SSD flash technology evolution, a 12 GB write cache adapter and a zero write cache adapter. Both support twice as many SSDs as earlier PCIe Gen2 SAS adapters, provide more I/O operations per second (IOPS), and support greater throughput (MB/s). 

The PCIe3 12 GB Cache RAID SAS Adapter (#EJ0L) supports up to 48 SSDs and up to 96 hard disk drives (HDDs). The new adapter also effectively offers up to over six times more write cache for greater write performance than the PCIe Gen2 features 5913 and ESA3.

The PCIe3 RAID SAS Adapter (#EJ0J) is a new zero write cache SAS adapter.  It uses the same high-performance PCIe Gen3 technology as feature EJ0L but is a lower-cost option than the PCIe3 12 GB Cache RAID SAS Adapter while still providing better performance than delivered by the earlier PCIe Gen2 SAS adapter (#ESA1).  The #EJ0J also supports HDD very cost effectively assuming a modest write workload. 

The PCIe3 SAS Tape Adapter (#EJ0X) supports the attachment of SAS LTO-5 and LTO-6 tape drives.

In January, 2014, these PCIe Gen3 adapters are announced for the Power System model 795 and no other models.

Support for the refreshed PCIe Gen2 SAS adapter, which was originally announced for just four Power Systems models, is expanding to include more models.  The PCIe2 1.8 GB Cache RAID SAS Adapter (#ESA3) is now  supported across most of the Power 720, 730, 740, 750, 760, 770, and 780  servers and the PowerLinux 7R2 and 7R4 servers.  #ESA3 offers lower cost and higher energy efficiency than the #5913 SAS adapter, with the same performance and function.

There is also a non-SAS RAID adapter announcement.  Two new PCIe binary synchronous adapters (#EN13/#EN14) are available for clients running IBM i on IBM POWER7 technology-based servers who still need binary synchronous capability.  These adapters can be used instead of features 2893 and 2894, which are being withdrawn from marketing.  Non-binary synchronous functions are available for IBM i 7.1 TR5 and TR7 through the lower-cost PCIe async adapter (#5289/#5290).

Multiple announcements made October 8 enhance Power Systems flash memory options and more. With flash memory as part of a Power Systems solution, you can better recognize the full potential of real-time databases, OTLP, and other applications requiring extremely fast I/O response times. Thus you can often achieve:

Solid State Drives (SSDs) are a popular implementation of flash memory technology. New SFF (2.5-inch) 387 GB and 775 GB SSDs are introduced. They deliver improved price-to-performance ratios and improved spatial density for Power Systems. Compared to the already available 387 GB SSD, these new SSD can provide up to 2X more IOPS capability and up to 40% improved latency.

To help further encourage flash technology adoption, two no-charge 387 GB SSF SSDs are now included with a new POWER7+ model 770 and three are included with a new POWER7+ model 780. These no-charge features are for newly ordered Power 770 (9117-MMD) and 780 (9179-MHD) servers.

Another flash memory technology implementation option is a PCIe card. The IBM Flash Adapter 90 is announced for the POWER7+ 720, 730 and 740. It is a single-width 0.9 TB PCIe adapter which delivers up to 325,000 read IOPS and less than 100 microsecond latency. It enables significantly better performance than the existing double-wide PCIe RAID & SSD SAS Adapter (#2055).

The existing PCIe2 1.8GB Cache RAID SAS Adapter (#5913) technology is typically the preferred SAS adapter to run SSD. This large-cache adapter is refreshed to offer a lower-energy, lower-heat, and lower-cost adapter with generally the same performance parameters. This refreshed adapter (#ESA3) is supported on POWER7+ 720/740/770/780.

Several non-flash related enhancements are also announced.

The 1.2/1.1 TB 10k rpm disk drives deliver 33% more capacity in the same SFF (2.5-inch) SAS bay than the previously largest 10k drive, the 900/856 GB drive. This can deliver improved price-to-performance ratio and save physical space, energy, and cooling.

The GX++ 1-port 4X IB QDR Adapter (#EN25) provides a 40Gb 4X InfiniBand PCIe Gen2 technology port for the Power 795. This can enable a high-speed, low-latency connection for specific communication applications.

The PCIe2 2-port 10 GbE SFN6122F Adapter and PCIe2 2-port 10 GbE SFN5162F Adapter from Solarflare, which were previously announced for the PowerLinux servers are now available for use on the POWER7+ models 710 through 780 for Linux partitions.

The existing PCIe 2-port Async EIA-232 Adapter (#5289 and #5290) function in an IBM i partition is expanded to also support async PPP applications. This enhancement can reduce usage of the more expensive PCIe 2-line WAN Adapter (#2893 and #2894).

Performance is significantly boosted for disk in a #5913 PCIe2 SAS Adapter + VIOS + IBM i environment. Previously such configurations were recommended for use only with very moderate write workloads.

IBM also shared Statements of Direction (SODs) related to plans to expand the configuration options for the IBM Flash Adapter 90 and the refreshed large-cache SAS Adapter. Plus general plans for I/O migration to the technology following POWER7/POWER7+ are shared.

For specifics, see the "IBM Power Systems I/O Enhancements" announcement letter of October 8.

June 2013

28 May announcements include I/O enhancements for the Power 795, Power 780, Power 770 and PowerLInux servers and more.

New Power 795 memory DIMMs using high-density 4 Gb DDR3 technology improve Power 795 price-to-performance ratios and save energy and cooling. 32 GB, 64 GB, 128 GB, and 256 GB memory (#EM40, #EM41, #EM42, and #EM44) match the capacity sizes of the previously announced memory features. Existing 795 servers can use both the previously announced and the new memory features, but new servers should order only new memory features. The new memory features require firmware level 7.6, or later.

The PCIe2 16 Gb 2-port Fibre Channel Adapter (#EN0A) offers twice the bandwidth of a 2-port 8 Gb Fibre Channel adapter in the same physical space. This adapter was recently announced on the POWER7+ 710-760 in February 2013. Support is now expanded to the Power 770 and Power 780 fulfilling a statement of direction. Support for the 9117-MMC and 9179-MHC is planned in June 2013. Support for the 9117-MMD and 9179-MHD is planned in July 2013.

The PCIe2 4-port (10 Gb FCoE & 1 GbE) SR&RJ45 (#EN0H) delivers the function of up to three PCIe adapters in just one PCIe slot. It is a 2-port 10 Gb Ethernet (NIC) adapter plus a 2-port 1 Gb Ethernet (NIC) adapter plus a 2-port 10 Gb Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) adapter. This adapter was announced on the POWER7+ 710-760 in first quarter 2013; support is now expanded to the Power 770 and Power 780 fulfilling a statement of direction. Support for the 9117-MMC and 9179-MHC is planned in June 2013. Support for the 9117-MMD and 9179-MHD is planned in July 2013.

The EXP30 Ultra SSD I/O Drawer (#EDR1) delivers up to 480,000 IOPs and up to 4.5 GB bandwidth in just one EIA of rack space and requires no PCIe slots to attach to a server. Support is added for the Power 770/780, 9117-MMC, and 9179-MHC in June 2013, fulfilling a statement of direction. Ultra Drawer support had previously been announced on the POWER7+ 710 through 780. Supporting the Ultra Drawer on the Power 770/780 are the addition of a full set of related 6-pack SSD features, single SSD features, GX++ attachment adapter, PCI cables, and specify features. IBM i SSD features (#ES04 and #ESR4) are planned for the 9117-MMC and 9179-MHC in June 2013, and are planned for the 9117-MMD and 9179-MHD in July 2013.

Two new 10 Gb Ethernet adapters expand the portfolio of applications for PowerLinux servers. The Solarflare low-latency 10 Gb Ethernet adapters are supported on the POWER7+ PowerLinux 7R1 and 7R2 under Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6.4. The two adapters are the PCIe2 LP 2-port 10 GbE SFN6122F Adapter (#EL39) and the PCIe2 LP 2-port 10 GbE SFN5162F Adapter (#EL3A). The PCIe2LP 2-port 10 GbE SFN6122F Adapter (#EL39) also supports Solarflare's OpenOnload application acceleration middleware which can provide accelerated performance to applications, without need for specialized networks.

IBM i has three I/O enhancements of note. First, IBM i 7.1 TR6 now supports attachment of the IBM Storwize V3700, Storwize V7000 and IBM SAN Volume Controller (SVC) without the use of VIOS. For IBM i clients who have not yet adopted VIOS, this may be a simpler implementation. Use of a Fibre Channel switch is optional if using a 4Gb Fibre Channel adapter but is required if using 8Gb or 16Gb Fibre Channel adapters. IBM i Second, additional IBM i support is announced for the 4-port CNA adapter (#EN0H/EN0J) on the Power 710/760 and for the Integrated Multifunction Cards (#EN10/EN11) on the Power 750 Express and Power 760 which were announced in February 2013. IBM i already supports the Ethernet NIC function of these CNA ports. Support is expanding on 26 July for IBM i 6.1 or 7.1 for the FCoE function. VIOS is prerequisite for either the NIC or FCoE function with IBM i on these adapters/cards. Third, IBM i 7.1 TR6 support of the #EDR1 EXP30 Ultra SSD drawer is expanded to also cover the Power 770 and Power 780. IBM i SSD features (#ES04 and #ESR4) are planned for the 9117-MMC and 9179-MHC in June 2013, and are planned for the 9117-MMD and 9179-MHD in July 2013.

IBM Storage introduced the FlashSystem portfolio of flash-based storage systems on April 11, 2013 ( Refer to Hardware Announcements dated April 11, 2013). Leveraging flash solid state storage technology, FlashSystem devices are designed for cost-effective, high storage performance used to accelerate critical business applications. This includes the IBM FlashSystem 710, 810, 720 and 820 which can be attached to Power servers via Fibre Channel adapters.

Lastly, because of a planned withdrawal by the vendors who build the DAT160 tape drive, IBM is offering 2014 planning information in a statement of direction to give clients who have entry tape requirements time to transition to newer entry save/restore technologies such as RDX.

  • - February 2013

    New SSD 6-pack and 4-packs, IBM i 6.1.1 native I/O support, high-performance PCIe Gen2 adapters, a new multifunction Card, LTO-6, RDX and other enhancements expand Power System I/O capabilities.

    Two new SSD packages offer ordering convenience and price savings. The 6-pack SSD feature #ESR2/ESR4 is for the EXP30 Ultra SSD I/O Drawer. The 4-pack SSD features #ESRA/ESRB/ESRC/ESRD are for the SAS bays in a system unit or in an I/O drawer. A maximum of one 4-pack feature can be ordered with a new server. These SSD packages must be ordered with a new server and not ordered with an MES order.

    IBM i 6.1.1 native I/O support is announced for the POWER7+ 710/720/730/740 and POWER7+ 770/780. A chargeable #EB34 hardware feature on these POWER7+ servers then allows I/O to be natively attached. Without #EB34 IBM i 6.1 partitions leverage either VIOS or IBM i 7.1 for virtualized I/O.

    Support for the existing #EDR1 EXP30 Ultra SSD I/O Drawer is expanded to include the POWER7+ 710/720/730/740/750/760. There is also a statement of direction (SOD) for future additional model support. Software support of #EDR1 is also expanded to include IBM i 7.1 TR6 native support.

    The two-port PCIe2 16 Gb Fibre Channel Adapter provides twice the bandwidth per port of an 8 Gb Fibre Channel adapter. Both a full high (#EN0A) and a low profile (#EN0B) adapter are offered for the POWER7+ 710/720/730/740/750/760. There is also an SOD for additional model support.

    The four-port PCIe2 Converged Network Adapter (CNA) provides two 10 Gb FCoE/CNA optical SR ports plus two 1 Gb RJ45 Ethernet ports. Both a full high (#EN0H) and a low profile (#EN0J) adapter are offered for the POWER7+ 710/720/730/740/750/760. There is also an SOD for additional model support.

    The new integrated multifunction card for the Power 750/760 includes four Ethernet, two USB, and one serial port without using a PCIe slot. With feature #EN10, two of the four Ethernet ports are 10 Gb copper twinax ports and two are 10 Gb RJ45. With feature #EN11, two of the four Ethernet ports are 10 Gb optical SR ports and two are 10 Gb RJ45. The #EN10/EN11 differ in two ways from the previously announced integrated multifunction cards #1768 and #1769 on the Power 770/780 which offer the same total number of ports. First, the #EN10/EN11 copper twinax and SR Optical 10Gb ports can support CNA/FCoE. Second, the feature #EN10/EN11 RJ45 ports are capable of 10 GbE or 1 GbE instead of just 1 GbE. There is also an SOD for additional model support.

    A half-high LTO-6 tape drive feature #EU11 delivers increased capacity of up to 2.5 GB (uncompressed) or 6.25 TB (typical compression) and enables increased performance of up to 240 MB/s. It is supported in the Power 720/740 "C" and "D" model system units and in the Power 750 "B" model system unit and in the Power 795 1U storage drawer (#5724).

    A 1.5 TB RDX cartridge feature #EU15 delivers 50% more capacity than the largest cartridge previously available. It is supported in the #EU03/EU04/EU23 and #1103/1104/1123 RDX docking stations.

  • - October 2012

    IBM Power Systems introduces a number of I/O-related enhancements, offering improved functionality, performance, price/performance, and density across the Power product line.

    The enhanced EXP30 Ultra SSD I/O Drawer (#EDR1) provides the IBM Power POWER7+ 770 and 780 up to 30 solid-state drives (SSD) in just 1U of rack space without any PCIe slots. The drawer provides up to 480,000 IOPS and up to 12.6.2 TB of capacity for AIX or Linux clients. Plus up to 48 additional HDDs can be directly attached to the Ultra Drawer (still without using any PCIe slots) providing up to 43.2 TB additional capacity in only 4U additional rack space for AIX clients. This ultra-dense SSD option is very similar to the Ultra Drawer (#5888), which remains available to the Power 710, 720, 730, and 740.

    Two new GX++ adapters provide PCIe Gen2 functionality and performance in extremely dense and efficient packaging for the Power 795. The new GX++ adapters eliminate the need for a GX++ 12X adapter, 12X cables, a 12X-attached PCIe I/O drawer, and a PCIe adapter. In some cases, they may even alleviate the need for an expansion rack. The two adapters are a 2-port 16Gb Fibre Channel adapter (#EN23) and a 2-port 10Gb Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE) or Converged Network Adapter (#EN22).

    IBM i 7.1 adds support for RDX Removable Media Devices. RDX docking stations and drives can provide a more reliable, higher performance, and lower cost option to traditional entry tape options such as DAT160 and older QIC and LTO-2 tape drives. IBM i 7.1 supports USB RDX Removable Disk on newer servers and supports the new SATA RDX Removable Disk #EU07) on many earlier servers. In addition, IBM i 7.1 adds support for the USB-attached DAT160 tape drive.

    IBM i 7.1 also adds support for a significantly lower priced 2-port asynchronous communications adapter (#5289 and #5290). Compared to the existing IBM i supported 2-port adapter (#2893 and #2894), the new adapter is half the price (less a modem) and is available as either a low-profile (#5289) or full-high (#5290) adapter, improving configuration flexibility.

    RDX docking stations are refreshed with slightly newer technology (#EU03, #EU04, and #EU23) replacing the existing docking stations (#1103, #1104, and #1123) in most proposals. Similarly, the slimline DVD drive that is placed in Power 710 through Power 780 system units is refreshed and is now ordered as feature 5771 instead of the current feature 5762.

    The 900/856 GB 10k RPM SAS HDD (#1737, #1738, #1751, and #1752) offers lower cost per gigabyte and better storage density compared to smaller HDDs. Four feature numbers are used to identify if the drive is SFF-1 or SFF-2 and if shipped formatted with 528-byte sectors for RAID arrays (ordered for IBM i environments) or JBOD formatted with 512-byte sectors (ordered for AIX/Linux/VIOS environments).

    PowerLinux servers improve their big data capabilities with new SSD features offering more attractive pricing (#ELQK (177GB) and #ELQL (387GB))for the highest performance needs. Plus for lower performance but better cost per gigabyte, support is provided for the new 900 GB 10k RPM HDD.

    The PCIe Gen2 RoCE Adapter capabilities are enhanced with expanded configuration options and expanded support. A new RoCE adapter (#EC29/#EC30) provides an SR fiber optical cabling option in addition to the existing adapter with copper cabling (#EC27/#EC28). RoCE support is expanded to include the Power 795.

  • - April 2012

    IBM introduces several I/O enhancements to the Power Systems product line to further improve performance, virtualization, price performance, and physical footprint efficiency.

    The EXP30 Ultra SSD I/O Drawer (#5888) provides an ultra-dense and ultra-high-performance option for solid state drives (SDDs). Up to thirty 387 GB Enterprise Multi-Level Cell (eMLC) solid state drives (#ES02) provide up to 11.6 TB of capacity in only 1U of 19-inch rack space. A pair of very powerful integrated SAS controllers run the drawer's SSD providing up to 400,000+ IOPS. The Ultra Drawer attaches to GX++ slots in Power 710, 720, 730, and 740 without using any PCIe slots in the system unit.

    A new low profile PCIe Gen2 SAS adapter (#ESA2) is small enough to fit in the 2U Power 710/730 or in the 2U PCIe Riser card of the Power 720/740. It supports SSDs providing RAID 0, 5, 6 and 10 capabilities using a single PCIe slot. A full high version (#ESA1) is available for taller Power Systems PCIe Gen2 slots. Though its overall SSD performance capacity is lower than that of the #5913 PCIe2 1.8GB Cache RAID SAS Adapter announced in October 2011, its ability to fit in 2U space, use of only one PCIe slot, and price performance can be advantageous.

    SSD capacity and performance are doubled for SFF SAS bays with a 387 GB eMLC solid state drive (#ES0A/ES0B/ES0C/ES0D). These SSDs have twice the capacity of the existing 177GB SSDs (#1775/1787/1793/1794) and their price per GB is significantly improved.

    The PCIe2 4-port 1Gb Ethernet Adapter (#5260/5899) offers four copper/UTP Ethernet ports at a significantly lower price than the existing 4-port UTP adapters (#5271/5717). Or compared to the existing 2-port UTP adapters (#5281/5767) it offers twice the number or ports, in the same single PCIe slot.

    The PCIe2 LP 8Gb 4-port Fibre Channel Adapter (EN0Y) is a low profile adapter for Gen2 slots. It is smaller than but than functionally equivalent to the existing full high 4-port 8Gb adapter (#5729) announced in October 2011.

    The RDX 320GB Removable Disk Drive (#EU08) provides a cartridge with twice the capacity of the 160GB RDX Disk Drive (#1106) for about the same price. RDX is a great alternative save/restore technology for many AIX/Linux clients who might have selected DAT160 tape drives. It can provide great performance, reliability, and extremely long media life.

    The 80/160GB DAT160 USB Tape Drive (#EU16) is enclosed in a Power 720/740/750 system unit and driven through a USB connection. Its drive performance is the same as the existing SAS DAT160 drives (#5619), but it does not use the integrated SAS controller and thus may offer an overall performance advantage to the system.

    A new 2-port 10Gb Ethernet adapter (#EC27/EC28) provides RDMA over Converged Ethernet (RoCE) capability for AIX. This can allow greater throughput, lower latency and improved processor utilization.

  • - October 2011

    Multiple new I/O enhancements are announced for Power Systems servers in October 2011 including:

    The PCIe2 1.8 GB Cache RAID SAS Adapter (#5913) is a large-cache PCIe SAS adapter that provides high-performance capabilities for large quantities of SSDs or HDDS. It is the most advanced SAS controller ever offered, allowing clients to reduce the number of PCI slots required and thus help minimize the overall I/O configuration. To support its higher-speed interface and high-density ports, new 6 Gb SAS AA, AT, YO, and X cables are also introduced.

    The 2 Port Async EIA-232 PCIe Adapter (#5289 or #5290) is a significantly lower-cost option for AIX and Linux clients compared to the functionally equivalent 4-port Async EIA-232 PCIe Adapter (#5785 or #5277).

    Two new low profile PCIe2 Ethernet 4-port adapters (#5279 or #5280) for Linux provide additional capabilities and speed options. Two of 4 ports are 10Gb and two are 1Gb.
    Plus two new PCIe2 Ethernet features for full high equivalents of the existing low profile Gen2 2-port 10Gb Adapters expand configuration options (#5287 or #5288).

    The PCIe2 8x 4-port Fibre Channel Adapter (#5729) is a new PCIe Gen2 adapter. It provides four 8 Gb Fibre Channel ports and doubles both the number of ports and the total bandwidth available on a Fibre Channel adapter. With the additional ports and bandwidth, clients can increase virtualization and consolidation of Fibre Channel configurations while conserving valuable PCIe Gen2 slots.

    283 GB and 300 GB capacity points are added to the 15, 000 rpm SFF disk drive options, doubling the 15, 000 rpm capacity previously available for POWER7 clients with SFF bays. Four feature codes are used to indicate whether the drive is 283 GB or 300 GB and whether it has a SFF-1 (Gen1) or SFF-2 (Gen2 for the EXP24S) carrier (#1948, #1953, #1879 or #1880).

    The 1TB Removable Disk Drive Cartridge (#EU01) provides a RDX disk drive in a rugged cartridge to be used in the USB-attached RDX Internal and External Docking Stations (#1103, #1104, or #1123). This option may be an excellent alternative to DAT160 or QIC tape drives.

  • - July 2011

    SAS-bay-based SSD (solid state drive) options are enhanced with expanded configuration options for the 177 GB SSD. These 177GB drives provide 2.5 times more capacity per drive than the previously available 69 GB SSD for the POWER7 710, 720, 730, 740, 750, 755, 770, and 780, and for the POWER6 520, 550, 560, 570, and 595. The 177 GB drive provides an improved price per drive and a much improved cost per gigabyte compared to the 69GB SSD.

    Four feature codes are used for this drive to indicate which set of OS protection rules are used and to indicate what type of SFF SAS bay in which it is placed (SSF-1 or SSF-2). The four features are #1775, #1787, #1793, and #1794. Note feature 1775 and feature 1787 were previously announced on Power 795 but are now supported in many more models.

    A few SSDs may reduce the need for many HDDs, saving rack space, I/O drawers, maintenance, and energy. SSDs can often do so while improving system performance and batch windows at the same time.

  • - April 2011

    Power Systems announced several I/O options 12 April 2011 which are being introduced starting May 2011. These I/O options enhance the Power Systems product lines, offering clients better performance, more cost-effective configurations, and stronger longer-term hardware investments. These enhancements include:

    New disk-only I/O drawer:

    The #5887 EXP24S is a high-density, high-performance SFF drive drawer, holding up to 24 SAS drives in just 2U of 19-inch rack space. This is twice the number of drives compared to the currently offered #5886 EXP12S I/O drawer (#5886) and its twelve 3.5-inch drive capacity. The EXP24S can also be ordered in mode 1, 2, or 4, providing additional configuration flexibility. In addition to 6 Gb SAS capability, the EXP24S SFF drives provide significant energy savings compared to the EXP12S 3.5-inch drives.

    New SAS-bay-based SSD:

    SAS-bay-based SSD options are enhanced with a 177 GB SSD which provides 2.5 times more capacity per drive than the current 69 GB SSD. The 177 GB drive provides a much improved cost per gigabyte and requires a smaller number of SAS bays for the same number of gigabytes. A few SSDs may reduce the need for many HDDs, saving rack space, I/O drawers, maintenance, and energy. SSDs can often do so while improving system performance and batch windows at the same time. This new SSD option is announced only on the Power 795.

    New 571/600 GB disk drive:

    A 571 GB / 600 GB 10k RPM SFF Disk Drive is added to SFF disk drive options, offering a lower cost per gigabyte and more gigabytes per rack space.

    IBM Systems Director Management Console (SDMC):

    SDMC is the next-generation Hardware Management Console (HMC). The SDMC incorporates the IBM Systems Director software to provide consistency with IBM Systems Director on other platforms. The SDMC offers several advantages over the HMC, including the ability to manage both Power Systems servers and Power Systems blades based on Power Architecture.

    IBM/BNT Switches for Power Systems:

    Three IBM BNT data center Ethernet switches are available for IBM POWER7 processor-based servers. They offer three great top-of-rack (TOR) alternatives for the access or distributed layer for IBM Power Systems data center switching environments. They are the IBM BNT RackSwitches: G8124ER (1455-24E), G8052R (1455-48E), and G8264R (1455-64C).

    Clustering enhancements:

    Three QLogic 4X QDR IB switches can now be ordered with Power Systems hardware and supported on Power Systems. They provide up to 36-port, 72-port and 324-port capability (7874-036, 7874-072 and 7874-324). Plus a new PCIe Gen2 low-profile IB QDR adapter provides high-speed 4X InfiniBand connections for AIX/Linux clusters to these switches.

    Save/Restore enhancements:

    A new 2U I/O drawer (#5724) replaces the existing media I/O drawer for the Power 795 which holds DVD or tape drives. In addition, the existing Ultrium5 or LTO-5 tape drive is added to the Power 750 internal tape and to the Power 795 media drawer drive options.

    IBM i existing I/O enhancements:

    IBM i 6.1 with 6.1.1 machine code will now support the previously announced PCIe RAID and SSD SAS Adapter (#2053, #2054, and #2055) with its 177 GB SSD Modules. Previously this was support required IBM i 7.1 or required IBM i 6.1 with VIOS. Also the previously announced PCIe Riser Card (Gen 2), will have direct support with IBM i 7.1.

    Additional information about future planned I/O enhancements is now available on the Product Preview / Statement of Direction.

  • - October 2010

    Power Systems I/O enhancements announced in October 2010 include:
    Optional PCIe Gen2 slots and two new PCIe Gen 2 adapters are introduced on the Power 720 and 740 Express servers and are planned to be available in December, 2010. These can provide greater bandwidth than using Gen1 slots and adapters.

    • The PCIe Riser Card (#5685) provides four PCIe Gen2 low-profile (LP) slots in the Power 720/740 system unit. The riser card supports both Gen1 and Gen2 Low Profile PCIe adapters. It is initially supported on AIX and Linux.
    • The PCIe2 (Gen2) Low Profile 2-port 10GbE SR Adapter (#5284) and the PCIe2 (Gen2) Low Profile 2-Port 10GbE SFP+ Copper Adapter (#5286) are supported in the new Gen2 PCIe Riser Card.

    Additional LTO-5 support for IBM i 6.1 is planned to be available starting 26 November. The IBM tape libraries TS3100, TS3200, TS3310, and TS3500 with LTO-5 drives will be supported after applying the then available latest IBM i PTFs.

    PCIe Cryptographic Adapter support is planned to be expanded 19 November. IBM i 6.1 support is added to the existing AIX and IBM i 7.1 support. The PCIe Cryptographic adapter provides additional performance and function with improved RAS features compared to the PCI-X predecessor. The adapter provides a powerful, tamper-resistant solution for POWER7 and POWER6 clients who handle secure cryptographic and digital signature workload in their business.

  • - August 2010

    PCIe-based SSD offering

    SSD or flash technology can provide a tremendous number of I/O operations per second compared to spinning disk drives, helping to slash I/O-bound batch window times and improve interactive or query response times. The PCIe RAID & SSD SAS Adapter is a new SSD offering designed to provide greater capacity, smaller footprint and lower list price per GB in many POWER7® processor-based server configurations, when compared to the currently available SSD storage module which plugs into a SAS disk bay. The currently available 69 GB SSD remains available and continue to be an excellent choice for many configurations.

    The new PCIe-based SSD offering consists of a double-wide SAS PCIe adapter which has sockets directly on the adapter for up to four 177 GB SSD modules (over 700 GB per adapter). These 177 GB SSD modules use a new eMLC flash technology that offers enterprise class performance and reliability. The new offering is available with the Power 710, 720, 730, 740, 750, 755, 770 and 780.

    The PCIe RAID & SSD SAS Adapter is supported by these operating systems, or later – AIX® 5.3, IBM i 7.1, RHEL 5.5 or SLES 10.

    PCIe Crypto Coprocessor 4765-001 supported on IBM i 7.1

    The PCIe Crypto Coprocessor 4765-001, previously announced for AIX, is now supported on IBM i 7.1. IBM cryptographic adapters are suited to applications requiring high-speed, security-sensitive, RSA acceleration, cryptographic operations for data encryption and digital signing, secure management and use of cryptographic keys, or custom cryptographic applications. The PCIe Crypto Coprocessor, which provides both cryptographic coprocessor and secure-key cryptographic accelerator functions in a single PCIe card, is designed to meet the needs of clients with banking, credit card or finance applications, especially those who require hardware designed to meet FIPS 140-2 level 4 security.

    LTO5 Tape drive for the Power 720 and 740 Express

    Internal tape drive options are expanded with the addition of a SAS HH LTO5 tape drive which can be placed in the Power 720 or 740 Express system unit. Existing external LTO5 tape options remain available for other POWER6 and POWER7 processor-based servers.

    IBM 7216-1U2 Multi-media Storage Enclosure

    This compact (1U) multi-media storage enclosure may be externally attached to POWER7 processor-based servers. It provides a slightly lower U.S. list price than the predecessor IBM 7214-1U2 enclosure and can accommodate a variety of the latest level removable media and storage devices. Supported drives include SAS LTO5 tape, SAS DAT320 tape, USB DAT320 tape, SATA DVD-RAM and USB Removable Disk (RDX).

    IBM i I/O enhancements

    IBM i has several I/O enhancements. In addition to the support of the PCIe Crypto card, support for Fibre Channel over Ethernet (FCoE), external LTO-5 drives, IOP-less ProtecTIER, and a new 283 GB 10k RPM internal disk drive is added.

    • FCoE or Converged Network Adapter support is provided with IBM i 6.1 or later and with VIOS to use the full NIC, Fibre Channel and NPIV functions of the FCoE adapters now available on Power servers.
    • LTO-5 support for the IBM TS2250 and TS2350 is now available for IBM i 6.1 or later.
    • Smart IOA support (IOP-less) for the IBM ProtecTIER is now available for IBM i 6.1.
      Previously only IOP-based support had been available and this enhancement provides for great configuration flexibility, lower cost configurations and support on POWER7 servers by IBM i.
    • The 283 GB 10k RPM disk drive is a Small Form Factor (SFF) SAS drive supported by IBM i 6.1 or later.
  • - April 2010

    IBM introduces the PCIe Cryptographic Coprocessor 4765-001. It provides additional performance and function with improved adapter reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) features. The adapter provides a powerful, tamper-resistant solution for POWER7 and POWER6® clients who handle secure cryptographic/digital signature workload in their business in a highly efficient manner.

    The PCIe adapter hardware offers up to two to seven times the performance and provides better scalability compared to the existing PCI-X generation of cryptographic coprocessor adapter. The potential performance and scalability gains can result in more work done per adapter and fewer adapters per server compared to the predecessor PCI-X adapter.

    IBM cryptographic adapters are suited for applications requiring high-speed, security-sensitive, RSA acceleration, cryptographic operations for data encryption and digital signing, secure management, and use of cryptographic keys, or custom cryptographic applications. These can include financial applications such as PIN generation and verification in automated teller and point-of-sale (POS) transaction servers, remote key loading of ATMs and POS terminals, Web-serving applications, Public Key Infrastructure applications, smart card applications, and custom proprietary solutions. Clients with banking, credit card, or finance applications, should value these cryptographic adapters highly, especially if you require hardware designed to meet the FIPS 140-2 level 4 security.

    The PCIe cryptographic adapter is ordered using feature code #4807, #4808 or #4809. The predecessor #4764 PCI-X adapter is still available for AIX and IBM i. AIX supports the new PCIe adapter.

  • - February 2010

    DAT tape drive

    IBM is introducing new DAT320 entry tape drive for the Power 750 and Power 520/550. It offers signficant price/performance advantages compared to the previous generation DAT tape drive, the DAT160 80/160 GB tape drive. Compared to the DAT160, the new DAT320 for entry servers has up to 100% more capacity, up to 75% better performance, and uses up to 50% less power. The DAT320 160/320 (#5661) stores up to 320 GB of data on a single cartridge using typical 2X hardware compression, a standard capability provided in the tape drive. It provides up to 160 GB of capacity without compression. Using 2X compression, its rated speed is up to 86 GB/hour, filling a DAT320 cartridge in about four hours. The drive can read/write both DAT320 and DAT160 cartridges, but cannot read the older technology DAT72 cartridge. The DAT320 can be placed in the half-high removable media bay in the POWER6 520/550 and POWER7 750.

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