IBM Gives The 7042-CR6 HMC Another Execution Stay
January 23, 2012 Timothy Prickett Morgan
IBM just can’t seem to kill the 7042-CR6 hardware management console, or HMC. It has now had its second stay of execution.
The HMC is on its way out over the long haul, of course, as The Four Hundred explained back in April 2011, which IBM announced the Systems Director Management Console, or SDMC. While the HMC was tied to Power Systems iron, managing its PowerVM hypervisor, the SMDC, which runs a new suite of tools for managing Power Systems, System x, and BladeCenter iron and their respective hypervisors. The SDMC tool itself runs on Power Systems machines with PowerVM and X86 servers running VMware ESXi or Red Hat KVM. But apparently there are some people who still want to buy HMCs and not move to the SDMC, which only supports Power6, Power6+, and Power7 servers. My guess? Power5 and Power5+ customers are squawking.
In announcement letter 112-011, IBM has extended the life of the 7042-CR6 HMC, a rack-mounted unit, until December 31. The 7042-CR6 HMC was announced back in August 2010 and it can be used to manage Power5, Power5+, Power6, Power6+, and Power7 servers. It is basically a single-socket, quad-core Xeon server with minimal disk and memory that runs special microcode for managing partitions and comes with a stunning $5,800 price tag.
A year after it was announced and when the SDMC alternative came out, IBM told customers it planned to stop selling the 7042-CR6 HMC on July 29,2011, but a few weeks before that deadline hit, IBM extended sales to July 13, 2012, and we are not even close to July yet and IBM has already decided to push the date out to the end of this year.
As we reported last May, the plan was to get the SDMC software running on a Power-based hardware appliance sometime in the second half of 2012. This year, IBM is also supposed to add support for Power7+ machinery to the SDMC, which presumably implies that Power7+ processors are coming out sometime this year. One way to interpret this is that if the Power7+ machines have slipped to later this year, there’s no sense in hurrying the SDMC and therefore it makes sense to keep the HMC around longer. But I happen to think that IBM is instead trying to keep from alienating Power5 and Power5+ customers.