Existing Power Systems Get a Few Storage Tweaks
February 15, 2010 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The four new models of the Power Systems lineup based on the Power7 processors were not the only thing that IBM cooked up in the engineering labs. As usual, the drumbeat of change continues a-pace for the various subsystems that are used with the new as well as existing systems, and in this case, some storage features have been upgraded.
First up is a new DAT320 tape drive for archiving data and distributing software that is intended for entry and midrange boxes. Feature 5661, as the device is warmly known, slides into selected Power 520 and Power 550 servers as well as the new Power 750. To get technical about product numbers to avoid confusion, that’s the 8203-E4A converged Power 520s and the 8204-E8A for the Power 550, both of which are based on Power6 and Power6+ chips; and the 8233-E8B for the Power 750. Other Power 520s and 550s cannot use the new DAT320 drive, although I can’t think of a technical reason this has to be the case.
Anyway, the new DAT320 unit can cram 160 GB of uncompressed data onto the tape and with hardware encryption, can double that to 320 GB per tape with the normal kinds of data you have at i/OS shops. With the compression turned on, it can write at a rate of 86 GB per hour, which means it can fill a tape in about four hours. The unit can read and write in 80 GB or 160 GB uncompressed or 160 GB or 320 GB compressed formats, but cannot read or write in the earlier DAT72 format. Feature 5661 costs $2,100, and it slides into a half-height media bay. It will be available on March 16.
IBM is also tipping its hand on the future Power 720 systems a little by announcing a new small form factor disk backplane (feature 8340) that can replace the current disk backplane in the current Power 520 and Power 550 machines. (Again, I am only talking about the 8203-E4A converged Power 520s and the 8204-E8A converged Power 550s, not prior machines with those names.) This backplane can replace the current one, feature 8346, and the main reason you might want to do this is that the new backplane allows the eight disks supported by the backplane to be split into two distinct four-disk groups, allowing for two different RAID groups, as well as allowing for the connection of a SATA DVD or a half-inch tape drive that fits in a 5.25-inch media bay. Both backplanes support eight 2.5-inch disks and have an external SAS port, but the feature 8430 allows for a feature 5886 media drawer to be hung off the server for futher I/O expansion. This new split backplane costs $799 and will be available on February 19.
You won’t find out much more about the devices in announcement letter 110-014, but there’s the link so you can see that for yourself.