IBM Delays Small Form Factor Disks for the Power 550
April 6, 2009 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Last October, when IBM did the final and full convergence of the i and p platforms into a single Power Systems lineup with a single set of product numbers, the company said that it would be putting 2.5-inch disk drives into the field for its midrange Power 550 servers. These disks were originally supposed to ship on November 21, then were pushed out to April 24. Now, they will be shipped on May 22.
In its notice about the change in data for the 2.5-inch SAS drives for the Power 550, which you can read here, the company didn’t give any explanation for the two delays. Such small form factor drives, sometimes abbreviate SFF to distinguish them from 3.5-inch drives that have been the standard size for longer than I care to remember, are becoming normal and will within a year or so probably completely replace 3.5-inch units. (OK, so IBM Rochester invented the first 3.5-inch SCSI disks back in the early 1990s, and these Corsair and Red Wing drives were key differentiators for the platform.) The drives in question include feature 1881, a 73.6 GB 10K RPM SAS drive, and feature 1882, a 146.8 GB 10K RPM drive, both of which are formatted to run the Virtual I/O Server or AIX or Linux. The related SAS DASD backplane, which holds eight of these drives, and cables were also delayed.
The one thing I find annoying is that while IBM is offering i shops that buy a Power 550 3.5-inch SAS drives that spin at 15K RPM and that come in 139.5 GB, 283.7 GB, and 428 GB capacities, the company is not offering i shops the option of using more compact, more energy efficient, and less noisy 2.5-inch drives. Whatever AIX and Linux shops get, i shops should get. And they should all get it at the same time, and at the same price. Period.