A Few More Power Systems Features in Last Week’s Blitz
April 19, 2010 Timothy Prickett Morgan
In addition to the new Power Systems 700, 701, and 702 blade servers and the i 7.1 operating system, IBM tossed a few Power Systems features into the product catalog.
First, there’s a new cryptographic co-processor that plugs into PCI Express peripheral slots in the Power Systems server lineup. I know what you are thinking: isn’t that what the on-board AltiVec vector math units and floating point units in the Power6, Power6+, and Power7 chips are for? Well, sometimes, you need something even more powerful, and that is what features 4807, 4808, and 4809 are all about. They are also combine the cryptographic acceleration and storage of cryptographic keys on the same tamper sensing and tamper responding device. The card meets the FIPS 140-2 level 4 U.S. National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) standards, and offers the same cryptographic functions as were provided in the feature 4764 PCI-X co-processor, except the new ones have redundant processors that operate in parallel and provide higher reliability. Those CPUs on the co-processor are lockstepped for fault tolerance. (It is a pity IBM hasn’t seen fit to do this for all processors, now that cores are plentiful.) The co-processor supports the single-, double-, and triple-length DES and 128-, 192-, and 256-bit AES encryption algorithms. (I expect at least one of these to be embedded on Power7+ or Power8 processors.)
The cryptographic co-processor cards (which differ from each other in what machines they can plug into for mysterious reasons that only IBMers understand) sell for $11,000 a pop on entry Power Systems machines and $14,408 on bigger boxes.
IBM also said it is offering pairs of 16 GB DDR3 memory sticks in bundles of 16 for the Power 750 server announced in February using Power7 processors at a discount. The feature 4258 cards ordered in onesies (well, that’s two 16 GB sticks) sell for $6,390, or just under $200 per GB. With the feature 4544 memory bundle, it’s the same two 16 GB sticks, but you pay $5,570 and you agree to buy 16 of them to max out the memory on the Power 750 to 512 GB. That puts you at $174 per GB.
IBM also said last week that customers can now get a 3.5-inch 600 GB 15K RPM SAS disk drive for the disk modules in the BladeCenter-S chassis; this is feature 3763, and it costs $879. A 2.5-inch 600 GB 10K RPM SAS drive, feature 8276 and costing $899, is now available for the existing Power6-based JS12, JS23, and JS43 blade servers.