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IBM Announces New POWER7 Systems

Included are four attractively priced Express servers and four new IBM i Solution Editions integrated and optimized for rapid ERP deployment.

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IBM today announced new POWER7 systems designed to manage the most demanding workloads and emerging applications, including a high-end system that offers markedly better energy efficiency than competitive systems, the company said. The announced systems will be generally available on September 17. 

"This is the culmination of the initial roll-out of our POWER7 set of offerings; it's been an exciting and busy year for us," Steve Sibley, manager, Power Systems servers offering management, told MC Press Online.

TPC-C Benchmarks

IBM also announced a pair of developments that it said illustrate the company’s continued momentum for Power in the $13 billion UNIX market, in which IBM has experienced a 14-point revenue share gain since 2005. 

•     IBM has achieved the industry’s highest ever TPC-C (transaction processing) benchmark using a Power Systems configuration with DB2, hitting 10,366,254 transactions per minute, which beat HP's best by more than 153 percent and Oracle's best result by more than 35 percent (1).  The IBM result represents 2.7 times better performance per core than the Oracle result, and it is 40 percent less expensive than Oracle’s best result, the company said.  HP's best result is over twice as expensive as the IBM result, according to IBM. 

•     A record 285 customers moved critical business workloads to IBM systems and storage from the competition during the second quarter of 2010, including 171 from Oracle and 86 from HP, according to IBM. More than 2,600 companies have switched from the competition to IBM Power Systems since IBM established its Migration Factory program four years ago. Of particular note, IBM’s business helping customers reduce x86 server sprawl by consolidating to Power increased four-fold over the first quarter, the company reported. 

The new systems–servers, software and IBM’s industry-leading PowerVM virtualization capabilities– allow customers to better manage ever-increasing amounts of data in an interconnected world and to conserve energy and floor space in burdened data centers, notes IBM. They are part of a year-long rollout by IBM of workload-optimized systems for the demands of emerging business models such as smart electrical grids, real-time analytics in financial markets and healthcare, mobile telecommunications, and smarter traffic systems.

80 Percent Taking PowerVM

"We now have over 80 percent of our [POWER7] clients [purchasing] our PowerVM virtualization capabilities as they consolidate and drive newer workloads onto each of these platforms. So we're growing the number of platforms we're shipping, and yet our clients are putting a lot more workload on those systems as they try to consolidate and reduce costs," Sibley said. 

He commented that he believes most of the companies purchasing PowerVM  are actually deploying it because sales of the lower-end PowerVM Express Edition are low compared to sales of the PowerVM Standard and PowerVM Enterprise editions. 

"We have a PowerVM Express Edition for people who want to test it, but very few people are buying the Express Edition," he said. "They're buying the Standard or Enterprise editions. We are not seeing a lot of trials anymore," Sibley said. 

New technology announced by IBM includes the new high-end IBM Power 795 system; four entry-level POWER7 processor-based servers designed specifically for mid-market clients; and a POWER7 processor-based workload-optimized Smart Analytics System that helps businesses draw real-time information from massive amounts of data.

Power Hitting the Mark in the Marketplace

"We started rolling out the POWER7 systems in February with what we consider the upper midrange part of our line with the Power 750, Power 770, and Power 780," said Sibley. "Those have been extraordinarily well received in the marketplace. We reported growth of 11 percent in revenues, and we also saw good volume growth," he said. 

The new 256-core IBM Power 795 offers more than five times better energy efficiency compared to servers from Oracle and HP(2).  It uses IBM’s leading-edge EnergyScale technology that varies frequencies depending upon workloads. This new system supports up to 8 terabytes of memory and provides over four times the performance in the same energy envelope as the fastest Power 595, IBM POWER6 processor-based high-end system. 

The new POWER7 technology supports four times as many processor cores as prior systems and uses the latest PowerVM virtualization software to enable customers to run over 1,000 virtual servers on a single physical system, enabling a huge improvement in operating efficiency.  For the many customers nearing capacity limits for energy, space and cooling in datacenters, 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– allowing for workload growth in existing datacenters and helping companies to potentially avoid or reduce the cost of expanding or building new data centers.(3) 

IBM also announced Power Flex, a new environment composed of two or more Power 795 systems, PowerVM Live Partition Mobility and a Flex Capacity Upgrade on Demand option. This solution enables clients to shift running applications from one system to another to perform system maintenance without downtime, helping to balance workloads and more easily handle peaks in demand.  

IBM also announced a new version of AIX—V7.

Express Servers

The four Express servers announced–IBM Power 710, 720, 730 and 740 Express–offer mid-market clients the outstanding performance, energy efficiency and other benefits of POWER7 technology in compact rack-mount or tower packages, the company said. These high-density, cost efficient servers minimize complexity and provide the memory capacity, internal storage options, I/O expandability and RAS features needed for demanding workloads in today’s high-growth midsize business, said IBM. 

Attractively priced starting at $6,385 (4) and available from IBM and IBM Business Partners, these easy-to-order IBM Express models allow clients to choose the configuration that satisfies their requirements and receive half the processor core activations at no additional charge. The new Express servers run over 15,000 applications based on AIX, IBM i and Linux operating systems. PowerVM software is also optionally available on the four new Express models, allowing clients to consolidate multiple workloads on one or more servers.

Consolidation Success Story

Sibley cited GHY International, a family-owned business in Winnipeg, Manitoba, as a company that has reduced maintenance from 95 percent of its workload to just five percent due to a consolidation onto Power Systems. GHY has been operating for more than a century and is using Power Systems running three operating environments—AIX, IBM i and Linux—in concert with other IBM hardware and software to manage a growing international trade services and consulting business. Dedicated to helping clients buy and sell goods internationally, GHY is using POWER7 systems to help customers manage the staples of worldwide trade, such as compliance and risk management, in real time, saving businesses time and money by expediting the production of customs forms. 

"This is critically important in a time when we have smarter applications and the horsepower to drive them," said Nigel Fortlage, vice president of information technology for GHY International. "IBM Power Systems have allowed us to use a cross platform server consolidation and virtualization strategy to effectively manage these new, emerging customs workloads. The ability of IBM Power servers to run multiple operating systems simultaneously is an enormous benefit to GHY, and the impact of virtualization on productivity has been astounding." 

Smart Analytics System

The IBM Smart Analytics System 7700 with POWER7 technology delivers a single, optimized system with the right balance of software, systems and storage capabilities for workloads generating unprecedented amounts of data at extreme speeds - providing a powerful analytics platform that can be deployed and customized for clients in a matter of days. This solution helps clients quickly draw insights from vast amounts of data to anticipate emerging business trends, capture new opportunities and avoid risks. 

The Smart Analytics System, which features several pretested Power Systems 740 Express server configurations, IBM DB2 powered and InfoSphere Warehouse software and AIX, analyzes data where it resides. This is important as clients seek to shorten the cycle time between processing and results, and seek to avoid the costs of migrating data from one system to another. 

Roanoke, VA-based, Advance Auto Parts, a leader in the automotive aftermarket, has more than 3,500 stores with more than 51,000 employees. Recently, the chain deployed the Smart Analytics System to more efficiently analyze national sales and inventory data up to 10 times faster than before. 

"IBM's level of optimization addresses the growing demands of data-intensive workloads versus other competitive offerings while also helping to reduce IT costs.  The system makes it easier to analyze data integrated from multiple databases and thereby, turning that data into actionable insight quickly," said Bill Robinette, director of Business Intelligence, Advance Auto Parts.  "That insight allows us to understand what our customers are buying at specific store locations.  Data on the make and model of the cars they own can help us more effectively manage inventory to ensure the right auto parts such as batteries, headlights, and brakes are in stock." 

“IBM continues to make the investments in systems, processors, systems software, operating systems and middleware necessary to lead the industry and meet the need of customers’ growing workloads,” said Tom Rosamilia, general manager of Power Systems and System z, IBM Systems & Technology Group. “IBM Power Systems have raised the bar for performance, reliability and energy efficiency.” 

IBM i Solution Editions for ERP

For IBM i clients, IBM is offering four new IBM i Solution Editions, integrated and optimized for rapid ERP deployment. These packages feature software from SAP, JD Edwards, Infor and Lawson and offer significant savings for customers running older versions of the i operating system who are looking to upgrade. 

“Infor and IBM have partnered to deliver the IBM i Solution Edition for Infor System i Solutions.   This is an important step in bringing a combination of Infor System i ERP and POWER7 processor-based systems to a set of customers that want simple, integrated solutions at a lower price,” said Joe Marino, vice president of System i Development and Support, Infor.  “We believe that this solution will be valuable to a large set of customers and will be a great success in the market.” 

IBM also announced IBM Rational Power Appliance, a family of software appliances comprised of Power Express servers that are pre-loaded and pre-configured with IBM Rational software for AIX development.  Available in a range of sizes and programming languages to suit specific user requirements, these ready-to-use systems provide customers a fully-enabled software development environment that can be put to use in a matter of hours, rather than days or weeks. 

IBM also announced enhanced solid state disk options on all POWER7 systems. 

For more information on IBM workload optimized systems, visit


1) IBM Power 780 cluster (3 x 64 core) (24 chips, 192 cores, 768 threads) TPC-C result of 10,366,254 tpmC and $1.38/tpmC, configuration available 10/13/10 vs. Sun SPARC Enterprise T5440 Cluster (12 x 32 core) (48 chips, 384 cores, 3072 threads) 7,646,486 tpmC, $2.36/tpmC, available 3/19/10 vs. HP Superdome (64 chips, 128 cores, 256 threads) 4,092,799 tpmC, $2.93/tpmC, available 8/06/07.  Results current as of 08/16/10. IBM result submitted as of 08/17/10.  Source:  TPC-C is a trademark of the Transaction Performance Processing Council (TPPC). 

(2) Efficiency is measured by performance per watt. Using SPECint_rate2006 as the measure for performance and the Maximum power usage for the IBM Power 795 and from the HP QuickSpecs and Sun SPARC Enterprise Site Planning Guides as the measure of energy usage.

SPECint_rate 2006 results: IBM Power 795 with 256 cores, 32 processor chips, and four threads per core had a peak result of 11,200. HP SuperDome with 128 cores, 64 processor chips and one thread per core had a peak result of 1,648.  The Sun SPARC Enterprise M9000 with 256 cores, 64 processor chips and two threads per core had a peak result of 2,586. 

SPEC® and the benchmark names SPECrate®, SPECint®, and SPECjbb® are registered trademarks of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. For the latest SPEC benchmark results, visit All results are the best result posted at as of August 11, 2010 for the system indicated except for the IBM Power 795 result which was submitted to SPEC as of August 17, 2010. 

(3) Based on four times higher system performance advantage of Power 795 vs. HP SuperDome, as noted above, combined with the ability to achieve much higher utilization rates with PowerVM and the scalability of the Power 795, clients can consolidate the workload from over 1,200 SPARC or Itanium processor cores reducing energy consumption by up to 75 percent.                                                                                                        

(4) Prices reflect US list prices as of August 17, 2010; reseller prices may vary.

The IBM business model is built to support two principal goals: helping clients succeed in delivering business value by becoming more innovative, efficient and competitive through the use of business insight and information technology (IT) solutions; and, providing long-term value to shareholders. The business model has been developed over time through strategic investments in capabilities and technologies that have the best long-term growth and profitability prospects based on the value they deliver to clients. The company's strategy is to focus on the high-growth, high-value segments of the IT industry. The company's global capabilities include services, software, hardware, fundamental research and financing. The broad mix of businesses and capabilities are combined to provide business insight and solutions for the company's clients.



MC Press Online's staff of reporters and editors are trained professionals who share a background in journalism and have a passion for technology. Many have been in the IBM midrange industry for more than 20 years and have a keen sense of what's important to IBM i and Power Systems users. If you have a news tip, story idea, or press release, email it to

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