Volume 18, Number 36 -- October 12, 2009

The Power Systems Catalog Gets Skinnier

Published: October 12, 2009

by Timothy Prickett Morgan

As has been happening for the past several months, IBM has once again been warning customers that features for its Power Systems and their System i and System p predecessors are going to be removed from the Big Blue product catalog. Last week the axe fell on a bunch of features, and the company also mothballed a bunch of System x servers and features that are probably important to i shops. IBM also put some Ultrium tape cartridges back into the catalog after withdrawing them in May.

According to announcement letter 909-217, January 4, 2010, will be the last day when a whole bunch of parts for earlier Power servers will be removed from marketing. These may be items you need to add to an existing system, hence Big Blue itemizes these withdrawals and The Four Hundred gives you the heads up on the important items. Yes, I am sure that you really care that the 4.3 meter 200-volt, 16 amp power cable for the Power 595 9119-FHA machine certified to meet the electrical regulations in South Africa is going the way of all flesh. (Well, there are probably a few banks, insurance companies, and manufacturers in South Africa that do care, and they are probably reading this newsletter.)

Here are the important highlights of the withdrawals. The processor cables that are used to lash multiple Power 570 boxes together into a single SMP server are going, so is the dual-port GX host channel adapters and conversion cables for the original Remote I/O (RIO, a variant of Fibre Channel) to the RIO-2 (a faster Fibre Channel) external drawers. A whole slew of SCSI cables are biting the dust, and as are dual-line power cords used with earlier Power 570 and Power 595 boxes, and so is the twinaxial workstation controller used in the current Power Systems lineup. (That could be a biggie for a lot of i shops.)

Some 32 GB DDR2 main memory cards used in the Power 570 are also being cut, and so is the 512 GB behemoth (actually 32 of IBM's 16 GB DDR DIMMs on a monster board) for the earlier Power 590 and Power 595. The feature 5806 PCI-X dual-channel Ultra320 SCSI adapter--see ya. A whole bunch of power supplies--say good-bye. Power5+ processor cards for the System p 505 and 550 servers, which ran at 1.65 GHz, 1.9 GHz, and 2.1 GHz, are also going out to pasture, but this doesn't really affect i shops much. And the 1.8 GHz quad-core module for the Power 560 (remember those, which packed two dual-core Power5+ chips into a single socket?) is also toast, as is the 1.9 GHz and 2.2 GHz Power5+ processor cards for the Power 570. The 16-core feature 8967 processor card, which uses eight 2.1 GHz Power5+ processors, is joining the choir eternal.

Now, many of you i shops out there have System x x64 servers that you run as infrastructure and/or application servers, and many of you also have rigorous qualification processes to get gear certified. If you have certified on earlier generations of x64 servers using Intel's older dual-core and quad-core Xeon processors--machines that predate the current "Nehalem EP" boxes--then you have until October 30 to get spare boxes from Big Blue or its channel partners. After that, the System x 3200 M2, x3250 M2, and x3950 M2 machines using the older Xeons will not be available, as you can see from announcement letter 909-262.

IBM has also killed off the original 2.5-inch 10K RPM SAS drives with 73 GB capacity on System x and BladeCenter machines, which come in a variety of packaging (hot swap or not). There are replacements, as announcement letter 909-255 shows; the company did not explain the change, but if you use these disks, you might want to ask what the deal is. It could just be that IBM is shifting to a different supplier or a more modern variant of this drive.

And finally, IBM said last week in announcement letter 109-708 that it was putting the Ultrium 4 WORM tape cartridge models 032 and 033 back into the Big Blue catalog. These 800 GB cartridges offer 2-to-1 compression and are used with IBM's 3589 Ultrium 4 tape drives, which were announced in May 2007 and which were withdrawn on May 29.


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Editor: Timothy Prickett Morgan
Contributing Editors: Dan Burger, Joe Hertvik, Brian Kelly, Shannon O'Donnell,
Mary Lou Roberts, Victor Rozek, Kevin Vandever, Hesh Wiener, Alex Woodie
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