IBM Expected to Launch Power6 Servers Today
May 21, 2007 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Well, it is official. The head honchos at IBM had a big shindig with Wall Street analysts up at its Yorktown Heights research facilities last Thursday, and one of the things that chairman and chief executive officer, Sam Palmisano, confirmed in that meeting is that the first Power6 servers will be launched today.
As expected, the Power6 processors will make their debut in the System p product line, and will feature support for the current AIX 5.3 operating system rather than for the AIX 5.4 operating system that has new software functionality to take full advantage of the Power6 hardware and the new servers that they plug into. (For full coverage of the AIX roadmap and how it relates to Power6 and future Power platforms, check out the past few weeks of The Unix Guardian.)
It is hard to say for sure, but the Power6 announcement seems to have been moved forward by at least a day or maybe a little more than a week. The word on the street is that the System p servers with Power6 would be launched on May 22 or May 29, with shipments in either June or July. It looks like IBM wanted to get these boxes out there so IT managers could ponder them over the Memorial Day holiday, not think about them the week of that holiday. (Some people take extra days off on the Tuesday after Memorial Day, and IBM’s top brass might want to do so as well.) In any event, what seems clear is that IBM wants to get the announcements started, that it will do a staged rollout of the Power6 machines, and that it will move as fast as it can to start racking up some revenue from these boxes.
System i servers based on Power6 and running i5/OS V5R4 and/or V5R5 are not expected until late 2007 or early 2008. The i5/OS and OS/400 base will have to make do with Power5+ machines and i5/OS V5R4 software until that time. I will be trying to get a better sense of when and what the System i machines using Power6 will look like as soon as the System p boxes are out the door. I have heard some interesting things, but I want to poke around a little bit longer to try to pin it down a little bit better.