Dataram Delivers Memory for Power7 Servers
August 23, 2010 Alex Woodie
The Power Systems community was focused last week on the new entry-level Power7 servers from IBM. But for organizations that have already purchased one of the larger Power7 servers unveiled earlier this year, there was a piece of good news from Dataram. The clone memory maker announced it is now selling memory modules for the midrange Power 750 and 755 servers, which gives mid-sized IBM i shops the capability to save a lot of cash on their Power 750 memory upgrades.
Two weeks ago Dataram announced the availability of 8 GB, 16 GB, and 32 GB memory upgrades for Power 750 and 755 systems. The Power 750 runs IBM i, Linux, and AIX, and was the first midrange Power7-based server unveiled by IBM in February, while the Power 755 supercomputer node was designed exclusively for high performance computing and therefore doesn’t run IBM i.
The DRI750 are the first memory modules from Dataram to support the new Power7 machines. The 8 GB, 16 GB, and 32 GB offerings correspond with IBM memory feature numbers 4526, 4527, and 4528, respectively. Customers buying Dataram memory to run in their Power Systems servers can expect to save close to 50 percent compared to the cost of buying IBM memory.
The DRI750 line uses DDR3, 1066 MHz technology, and is composed of two identical 240-pin DIMMs (two 4 GB cards for the 8 GB feature, etc.). The maximum amount of memory supported with the DRI750 is 512 GB for Power 750 server owners who purchase eight 32 GB features and install the 16 GB DIMMs in all 16 slots on their Power Systems server.
The company is currently working on supporting the new entry-level Power7-equipped 710, 720, 730, and 740 machines that IBM announced last week. Paul Henke, director of product management for Dataram, says the memory for these boxes should be ready in three to four weeks.
“We definitely will” support the new boxes, Henke tells IT Jungle. “We’ve learned a lot about the architecture with the 750, and we’re hoping we can move quickly” on the newer boxes. “We think we know what they [the new boxes] are, but we like to do. . . full testing and validation and know what our memory is capable of doing. We get surprises all the time.”
Dataram, which was founded in 1973, has been in the clone memory business for a long time, and its managers understand the importance of getting something right the first time. Henke and his team want to be sure that IBM hasn’t tweaked the Power7 architecture with the smaller boxes, and that nothing proprietary has sneaked into the platform. “When you don’t do your homework, it can ruin your reputation in a hurry,” he says.
For example, Dataram doesn’t even try to support the larger Power Systems frames, such as the older Power 595 or the new Power 795, with its memory. The things that IBM does with these capacity upgrade on demand (CUOD) servers make it impossible to build memory that works correctly. “It is not possible to offer alternative memory [for the biggest servers],” Henke says. “It’s just the way IBM architects the system. The limits are there for everybody. There is no way around it, no way for competitors to crack the codes. It’s a lock-down mechanism.”
Dataram’s DDR3 memory uses error checking and correcting (ECC), chipkill, and memory spare technology to boost the memory’s reliability, the vendor says. The newer DDR3-1066 technology is faster than the DDR2-667 and DDR-533 technology Dataram offers for older System i 520 servers.
Dataram currently supports a range of older Power Systems and System i machines with its clone memory, including the Power 520, 550, and 570 machines. It also supports various BladeCenter, System p, and System x servers and IntelliStation workstations, alongside memory from other major server makers.
Midrange and high-end Unix servers make up the bulk of Dataram’s business, according to Henke. Organizations that run workloads that respond especially well to oodles of memory, such as scientific databases and business intelligence applications, are more apt to buy a bare-bones machine from an OEM like IBM or Hewlett-Packard, and then max it out with inexpensive memory from Dataram.
Smaller companies running IBM i workloads, more often than not, will not see a big boost from a memory upgrade, and are even less likely to stray from IBM to save a few hundred or a few thousand dollars. The company does see business from bigger IBM i shops who can save substantially when giving their midrange machines a RAM lift, as well as from bureaus and ASPs who run System i servers in bulk.
The Princeton, New Jersey-based company has been selling clone memory for IBM Power servers for years, and strengthened its business with the acquisition of rival clone memory maker MMB last year. It also offers a try and buy program. For more information, see www.dataram.com.