IBM launches Power7 blade servers

The three blade servers are based on the Power7 processor introduced in February and come in four-, eight- and 16-core versions
Written by Richard Thurston, Contributor

IBM has introduced three blade servers based on its Power7 processor, designed for a range of workloads in mid-size datacentres.

The BladeCenter PS700 Express, PS701 Express and PS702 Express were unveiled on Tuesday. They come in four-, eight- and 16-core versions and accommodate 32GB, 64GB and 128GB of memory per blade, respectively. That compares with 64GB of memory in servers based on Power6, the previous generation of chip.

IBM launched its Power7 processors in February, saying they would increase performance per kilowatt three-fold compared with the previous generation, Power6. At the time, it launched four non-blade systems based on Power7.

The PS700 and PS701 are single width and the PS702 double width, the latter effectively snapping together two servers. All the blades can run alongside Power6 and IBM x86 blades in the same chassis, and they support AIX, IBM i, Suse and Red Hat operating systems.

The Power7 models include an integrated SAS disk controller, two integrated USB ports and two or four integrated Ethernet ports.

As with IBM's previous BladeCenter server products, the systems contain all the elements required to run an application, such as processors, memory, I/O and storage. The chassis provides shared resources for all the blades, such as redundant power and cooling, connectivity, switching and management functions. As blades, the systems are designed to scale up and scale down easily in datacentres.

With the new Power7 systems, businesses can use virtualisation to consolidate several AIX, IBM i and Linux workloads on to a single or multiple blade server, according to IBM.

Research company IDC said that blade servers were going to be of increasing importance for businesses. "This is where enterprises will make the next generation of investment," Giorgio Nebuloni, IDC senior research analyst for x86 servers, said. He added that spending on blades in EMEA had been quite resilient during 2009, falling by between 3-4 percent, while the overall server market fell by one-quarter.

Also on Tuesday, IBM announced a new release of IBM i, a preview of the next release of AIX and changes to its Systems Director software and Rational software development tools.

The new Power7 blades will be available on 4 June, IBM said. It would not reveal pricing at the time of writing.

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