IBM doubles down on Power

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IBM announced yesterday that they’ve revved their server lines, doubling the number of cores in a Power570 SSI to 32, and doubling the performance of each core. Highlights

IBM logoFor example, IBM today announced a new Power 570 with more than twice the performance per core and more than twice the performance per watt as HP’s Superdome….Starting at just 4 cores, the system can be upgraded to a full 32-core single system image (32-core SMP); and with hot-node add, businesses can install more server modules without having to take the system down when the time comes for growth.

IBM also announced that the Power 570/16, which supports from 2 to 16 POWER6 cores, now features faster speeds of 4.4 GHz and even 5.0 GHz — the fastest of the POWER6 processors — previously available only in the top of the line Power 595.
With twice the number of cores for performance and efficiency packed into the same system footprint as previous 570 systems, the Power 570/32 gives users more than 2.4 times the performance per watt compared to the Sun M8000 system.

The announcement is long, and contains other news related quad- and octcore options for the i machines, new blade servers, RAS, and software. TPM at El Reg has more details

The move to double up the Power6 core counts in some of the Power Systems machines is not just about giving customers headroom. It is also about making the Power6 boxes more competitive against current and future X64, RISC, and Itanium midrange gear from Hewlett-Packard, Sun Microsystems, Fujitsu-Siemens, Dell, NEC, and Unisys – and even IBM’s own System x line of x64 servers.

Interesting in light of our recent conversations about OS pricing is the cost breakdown on the new gear for the various options

…AIX costs $1,540 per core on top of that, and Linux costs whatever Red Hat and Novell want to charge or what IBM will give you as a Linux reseller.

Specifically, that is $719 for RHEL 5 with an unlimited number of sockets and up to 25 logical partitions using IBM’s PowerVM hypervisor and IBM’s own Linux support and $1,349 for the same thing with Red Hat’s support. And SLES is even cheaper, at $315 for a one-year license when backed up by IBM support and $892 with Novell support. A license to i 6.1 appears to cost $40,000 per core, which is the same price it cost on earlier 550-class midrange machines and a lot less than the $53,000 IBM is charging on Power 570 machines.

This is street pricing, and volume pricing is likely to be lower. But still, serious coin. Finally

Pricing was not available for the doubled-up Power 570 at press time. But you can bet a bunch of AIX and i customers are trying to figure out if they can get away with this new Power 570 instead of having to move to a much more expensive (and yet, more scalable) Power 595 server, the biggest box Big Blue builds.