Disk and Selected Memory Prices Chopped on Power Systems
April 18, 2011 Timothy Prickett Morgan
As part of the Power Systems server upgrades last week, which The Four Hundred discusses elsewhere in this issue, IBM cut prices on disk drive features used on the platforms. Memory features used on PS7XX blade servers and conversions of memory cards from the DDR2 type used in Power 570 and 595 servers, which are based on Power6 chips, to features used in Power 770 and 795 machines, which are based on Power7 chips and use DDR3 memory, were also reduced.
In announcement letter 311-047, IBM cut the price on the 139.5 GB disk features used on various Power Systems machines supporting the OS/400 and i operating systems by 37.6 percent, to $498. The price of the 283 GB drives used for the OS/400 and i operating systems were cut by 24 percent, to $4798 and are now the same price that Big Blue was charging for the 139.5 GB disks. These disks are all 2.5-inch, 15K RPM disk drives, and the same prices and price cuts were made available for the equivalent 146.8 GB and 300 GB disks that are formatted for IBM’s AIX operating system and Virtual I/O Server (VIOS) as well as for Red Hat Enterprise Linux and Novell SUSE Linux Enterprise Server.
IBM also cut the prices on the fatter and older 3.5-inch disks used in Power Systems machines. The price on the 428 GB, 15K RPM SAS drives in the 3.5-inch form factor was cut by 18.7 percent, to $1,300, while the price on the 283.7 GB unit is down 17.4 percent to $950. Now, if you want the larger and hotter disks to expand your existing disk arrays, you have to pay a premium over the smaller drives for a given capacity.
Here’s a table showing all of the disk and memory price changes and the machines for which various features had their prices chopped:
On the memory front, the 8 GB DDR3 memory for the PS700, PS701, and PS702 machines announced last year were cut by 36.7 percent, to $506. This is actually a pair of 4 GB, low-voltage (1.35 volt) memory sticks that go into the blade, which requires memory to be added by twosies. The 16 GB memory feature for these blades (a pair of 8 GB memory sticks) now costs $993, down 47.7 percent.
On the high-end of the line, IBM is cushioning the blow of upgrading from a Power 570 or Power 595 server using Power6 processors to a Power 770 or Power 795 using Power7 chips. On these machines, you have to buy the base memory card (the 595 and 795 boxes) or combination processor/memory module (the 570 and 770 machines), which has memory chips preinstalled. You then pay IBM to activate capacity on these cards and make it available to processors. IBM was trying to get away with charging a flat fee, converting 2 GB, 4 GB, 8 GB, and 16 GB activations to 1 GB activations. That didn’t fly well, obviously, particularly among the largest customers with the fattest configurations.
Before the price change last week, it cost $221 to convert 2 GB of DDR2 memory on the old box to an activation for 1 GB on the new cards; that price has been cut by 11 percent, to $196. Converting 4 GB of activated DDR2 memory on the old box to 1 GB of activated DDR3 memory on the new box now costs $147, down 33 percent. Converting 8 GB of activated memory on the Power6 boxes to 1 GB of memory on the Power7 boxes now costs a mere $49, and if you have 16 GB activations, IBM will let you have that 1 GB activation for free now.
Call me an advocate for the customer, but I think a 16-to-1 conversion is pretty stingy, particularly when IBM controls the secondhand market for Power Systems gear (more or less) and will be able to turn around and sell these memory modules and the memory cards they plug into for a nice, tidy profit.