Volume 21, Number 16 -- April 23, 2012

IBM Rochester Gets A Piece Of the PureSystems Action

Published: April 23, 2012

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

The PureSystems converged system platform might be largely a product of IBM's System x division, which was officially renamed the Modular Systems division several years ago but no one uses the name. But the Power Systems division has a hand in the design and manufacturing of the machines, too, as it turns out.

Tim Alpers, a local product manager at IBM's Rochester, Minnesota, facility, told the local Post-Bulletin newspaper that the PureSystems launch "was a big deal" for the facility, which had a hand in the research and design of the converged systems and will be taking part in the manufacturing of the systems as well. Alpers did not elaborate further on what, precisely, this means.

I contacted IBM for further clarification and this is what I was told by an IBM spokesperson: "IBM Rochester is the manufacturing starting point for PureSystems. Some of the work will be completed outside the United States."

I would have guessed it was the other way around, with various components for systems, networks, and storage and the metal that bends around them being subcontracted to suppliers all over the world--and mostly in Asia at that--with final assembly and testing in Rochester for the global market until the volumes of PureSystem sales were sufficient to crank up lines in other IBM manufacturing facilities in Singapore and China--and maybe even Poughkeepsie, New York, if volumes warranted it.

While the Rochester facility is known best for the System/3X and AS/400 minicomputers that IBM sold to hundreds of thousands of customers over the years, it also eventually took over manufacturing of RS/6000 servers and is now the main manufacturing hub for the Americas region for the entry and midrange Power Systems iron. (The Chinese and Singapore facilities service the European and Asian markets, and the Pokie factories do the high-end Power 595 and Power 795 machines for the Americas.)

IBM Rochester is also where IBM assembles and tests the massively parallel BlueGene/P and BlueGene/Q supercomputers. It also used to be a memory chip and disk drive manufacturing facility, way back when in the salad days of the AS/400.


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Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik, Victor Rozek,
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