The Rest of the Power7 Lineup Is Coming August 17
July 19, 2010 Timothy Prickett Morgan
If you are in the middle of negotiating a deal on a low-end Power 520, a midrange Power 550 or 750, or a high-end Power 595 server at the moment, you might want to put those negotiations on hold. It looks like IBM is getting ready to complete the rollout of the Power7-based Power Systems servers, and as I suggested in the lead story from last week’s issue, the four entry machines (including the Power 720 and three other new variants added more recently) and the high-end Power 795 are moving up from their original October launch date.
Of course, just because the machines are being launched a month from now does not necessarily mean that IBM is shipping the boxes any earlier than the fall. It may just mean that the anticipation of new machines and the consequential expectation for more oomph and a lower price for it are forcing IBM to get the announcement out earlier than planned. If customers are not buying Power6 and Power6+ machines that IBM and resellers have in the barn, even at what I presume are pretty steep discounts off list price (you’d have to be under 50 percent of list to be close to matching the bang for the buck on Power7 machines), then Big Blue may as well announce the remaining Power7 machines, get all the feeds and speeds out there, and do a whole lot of preselling for the fourth quarter.
Alternatively, it could be that Power7 chip yields for the high-end and low-end machines (they have different packaging) are better than expected and IBM can move not just the announcement, but also the shipment dates forward. The stickler for the Power 795, and something that is really required to make full use of the Power 770 and 780, are the 256 GB DDR3 memory modules that were reportedly not going to be ready until November. Maybe IBM has been able to speed up their manufacturing, and the Power 795 will ship with fat memory then. (I am expecting the Power 795 to hold up to 8 TB using these memory modules.)
With Hewlett-Packard still not launching its largest Superdome 2 servers yet and Oracle and Fujitsu running a little late on the 3 GHz goose on the quad-core Sparc64-VII+ processors, IBM is not under a lot of pressure competitively. But having its big Power 795 iron in the field when HP and Fujitsu-Oracle are not doing anything exciting with theirs is a good competitive move, even if they won’t be shipping for a few months. If that turns out to be the case.
The reason why I think the remaining Power7 server announcements are due on August 17 is simple. Big Blue is hosting two Webcasts that day.
The first one, which you can sign up for here, is called New smarter systems for a smarter planet, and it starts at 10 a.m. EST on August 17. Jeff Howard, director of marketing for IBM’s Power Systems division, and Arvind Krishna, general manager of the Information Management division of IBM’s Software Group (which does databases), will be hosting the meeting. Power Systems general manager, Ross Mauri, will not be on the Webcast, but that may be because IBM plans to have a press and analyst conference at the same time (very likely in New York) to launch the Power7 machines, much as it did earlier this year with the Power 750, 770, and 780 machines. Two consultants from IDC will be on the call as well: Jean Bozman, research vice president for enterprise servers, and Randy Perry, research vice president for business value consulting. The presence of the database chief from Big Blue suggests to me that this Webcast will focus primarily on the Power 795 machine, and maybe talk about DB2 PureScale clusters using Power 770 and 795 servers. (The PureScale Application System bundle announced in April was based on a cluster of Power 770 machines.)
The second Webcast, which you can sign up for here, is called New smarter Power Systems for midsize businesses, and it starts at 11 a.m. EST also on August 17. Ed Abrams, vice president of marketing for IBM’s mid-market demand programs, and Ian Jarman, who now has the title of manager of Power Systems marketing, will be hosting the call. IBM plans to go over new Power7 systems, including “new solutions for IBM i clients that reduce cost, complexity, and implementation time for core business applications,” as well as go over migration paths from prior generation of OS/400 and i servers and HP-UX and Solaris machines to the new boxes.
This latter Webcast sounds like the one where IBM will go over the four entry Power7 boxes, which I have been tentatively calling the Power 705, 710, and 720 plus a Smart Cube appliance based on one of them. But in both cases, I am just guessing.
I will be digging around to get some more concrete information. If you know something, you know how to reach me.