IBM Delivers Deskside HMC Console for PowerVM Management
May 3, 2010 Timothy Prickett Morgan
No matter which bare-metal server virtualization hypervisor you choose, you need to have an out-of-band management console to configure and tweak the hypervisor. This, as OS/400 and i shops are well aware, has been the case since the Power5 machines were launched many years ago, and it is equally true of VMware‘s ESX Server hypervisor and its vCenter manager, Citrix Systems‘ Xen Server and its XenCenter console, or Microsoft‘s Hyper-V and its Systems Center with virtualization plug ins. To virtualize one machine (or many) requires a physical machine outside of the loop. Which is a pain, of course, and which also costs money.
Up until now, IBM has sold a succession of Hardware Management Consoles for its Power-based servers to manage the hypervisor on Power Systems and their predecessors, which went by various names just like the hypervisor, now called PowerVM, has itself done. These HMCs were generally rack-mounted machines, not the kind of boxes that are good for an office environment where AS/400s and their progeny end up.
As part of the April Power Systems announcements, IBM rolled out a new deskside HMC, known lovingly as product number 7042-C08. As detailed in announcement letter 110-049, the deskside HMC comes with a single 2.53 GHz quad-core X64 processor from Intel, equipped with 4 GB of memory, a 250 GB disk, and CD/DVD drive. The workstation is preloaded with the PowerVM licensed machine code Version 7 Revision 711, and can be used to manage Power5, Power5+, Power6, Power6+, and Power7 machinery. IBM wants a ridiculous $2,800 for this HMC, plus $200 for a modem and from $875 to $1,290 for a certified LCD screen for the box, $107 for a keyboard, $18 for a power cord, $39 for a mouse, and $33 for an Ethernet cable. So it will cost you an additional $4,072 to use PowerVM if you want to use a deskside HMC.
I am a bit mystified why the HMC has not been implemented like the service processor itself on the Power Systems boxes. Perhaps with redundancy and mirroring of the hypervisor. In fact, to save money, IBM could just goose the service processor itself and run the HMC inside a mirrored virtual machine on that service processor and save everyone some money. But the HMC is like free money to IBM, even if it is sold at cost. Unless you plan to not use server virtualization (except with hosted Linux partitions atop OS/400 and i, which can be spawned in small numbers without an HMC, but without dedicated I/O of their own), you have to buy an HMC, and you have to buy it from Big Blue at whatever price it sets. And that is revenue IBM can count on and wants to retain.
There is no reason why the HMC can’t cost $1,000 or less. Including the monitor.