IBM announces POWER7 upgrade path

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IBM issued a press release today that has several things in it, one of which is of possible interest to you

IBM logoA Power 595 or 570 system upgrade can be accomplished during planned downtime by simply replacing the processors, memory and system controllers with new POWER7 components within the existing system frame. POWER7 processors will offer two to three times the performance of POWER6 using the same amount of energy (and will be available in four, six and eight-core varieties).

For either system, once upgraded to POWER7, applications from POWER6 systems can be moved to the newly upgraded Power 595 or Power 570 servers using IBM’s PowerVM Live Partition Mobility or AIX Live Application Mobility software, without impacting availability of the applications.

IBM plans to offer the POWER7 in four, six, and eight core varieties. The upgrade path IBM is announcing enables customers to buy POWER6/6+ now and then increase the capability via an upgrade that doesn’t change the underlying serial number of the equipment. The reason this is important to those who buy the boxes that we run in our centers has to do with the way assets are accounted on the books, as pointed out by Timothy Prickett Morgan in his article on this

This means customers who are buying Power 570s and 595s today know they won’t have to ditch these boxes entirely if they need to move to Power7 machines next year or the year after, which means they don’t have to write off their investments ahead of their normal depreciation schedule. The guarantee of upgrade paths also means that customers had better take a stab at what they think pricing will be on Power7 boxes and make sure they get steep discounts on the current Power Systems machines, because they can bet IBM isn’t going to give away upgrades to Power7 chips.