IBM launches high-end, mid-tier Power7 systems

IBM will launch a new batch of Power7 servers ranging to high-end systems for analytics to models designed for mid-sized companies.

IBM on Tuesday will launch a new batch of Power7 servers ranging to high-end systems for analytics to models designed for mid-sized companies.

The Power7 systems are designed to propel IBM to the top spot in the Unix market. Tom Rosamilia, general manager of Power Systems and System z, IBM Systems & Technology Group, said IBM needs to pick up 4 points of market share to be the top Unix server provider.

According to IDC, Unix revenue fell 29 percent in the first quarter as customers waited for HP and Sun to outline their roadmaps. Meanwhile, IBM customers paused ahead of the company's launch of Power7.

With IBM's latest installment of Power7 systems---along with roadmaps from HP and Oracle---the Unix market should show some pickup in the third quarter. IDC's second quarter figures for servers should land at the end of the month.

Here's a look at the key points for IBM's latest Power7 systems and associated software:

  • IBM launched a high-end IBM Power 795 system, which packs 256-cores and supports up to 8 terabytes of memory. In a nutshell, Power 795 has four times the performance as its predecessor with the same energy consumption. Via IBM's PowerVM virtualization software, the 795 can support more than 1,000 virtual servers on one system.
  • The company launched four Express servers including the IBM Power 710, 720, 730 and 740 Express for the midmarket. These systems come in rack-mount or tower packages and run AIX, IBM i and Linux. These servers start at $6,385. PowerVM software is optional.
  • IBM launched a Smart Analytics System 7700 with Power7 technology. This system is tailored to analytics and serves as an integrated appliance. IBM DB2, Infosphere and AIX rides shotgun in the system. This system is designed to take on Oracle's Exadata.
  • Big Blue is rolling out systems for ERP packages ranging from SAP, JD Edwards, Infor and Lawson.
  • There's also a family of Power7 appliances for development environments. The system, dubbed the IBM Rational Power Appliance, is preconfigured with Rational and AIX software. These systems come tailored to specific programming languages.
  • The systems are generally available Sept. 17.
  • There's a new version of IBM's Unix operating system, AIX 7.

So what's the big picture? IBM, Oracle and HP are in a scrum for the Unix market. IBM said that 285 customers have moved workloads to IBM systems in the second quarter. Of those migrations, 171 were from Oracle and 86 from HP.

Rosamilia said the latest Power7 systems are being used for data center consolidation. Companies are just coming around to the idea of analytics-tailored systems, but there is a lot of interest. If 1000s of Power7 systems sell for general purpose use, there are probably 100s for tailored use.

For the buyer, this server battle can work out nicely. Rosamilia wasn't shy about how IBM was "picking fights with Exadata." Toss in HP, which will argue that IBM is pitching a proprietary stack and its converged infrastructure approach is better, and there should be plenty of try and buy opportunities and bake-offs for hardware buyers.

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