IBM Winds Down Power7 Gen 1 Entry Servers
March 4, 2012 Timothy Prickett Morgan
As soon as the Power 710, 720, 730, and 740 machines were updated with slightly different processors, more memory capacity, and PCI-Express 2.0 peripherals last October, you knew that they were not going to be long for the IBM catalog.
In announcement letter 912-016, IBM said that it would stop selling the original Power 710/730 (machine number 8231-E2B), Power 720 (machine number 8202-E4B), and Power 740 (machine number 8231-E6B) on May 25.
The company has also pulled the plug on the 7402-C08 deskside Hardware Management Console (HMC), which is used to manage PowerVM logical partitions on Power Systems iron.
If you drill down into the announcement, you will see that the Express Edition for IBM i and Solution Edition for IBM i preloads for these machines are also being withdrawn from marketing on May 25, which stands to reason. So is the RISC-to-RISC migration option (feature 0205) on these machines, and 5250 Enterprise Enablement on the original Power 740 announced in August 2010 alongside the original Power 710, 720, and 730 machines. The Power 720 is the main machine for IBM i programs, and has a mix of core-based and user-based pricing with 5250 capacity activated automagically.
Look further into the announcement, and you will see that IBM is also sending the 4.2 GHz Power6 processor for the Power 570 (9117-MMA) server. 12X I/O expansion drawers and channel interface cards for prior generations of Power M25, M50, and 570 machines are also heading for the dustbin and so are a mix of Ethernet and Fibre Channel cards for BladeCenter blade servers using Power and Xeon processors.
On July 25, the 12X expansion drawers and channel interface cards will be killed off for a bunch of other Power Systems machines. So look at the list and see if you are on it.
Only a month ago, IBM announced big price cuts on some of the processor cards and core activations used on these Power7 Gen 1 servers–the Power 710 and 740 models, to be precise. Some of the motors on the Power 750 Gen 1.5 machines, which were announced in April 2011 running slightly faster Power7 engines but sporting the same memory capacity and PCI-Express 1.0 I/O slots as the original Power 750 servers that came out in February 2010.
It’s pretty clear that IBM wants to get as many customers as possible in its IBM i and AIX customer bases moving up to current iron, even as new Power7+ iron is expected sometime this year–very likely in the second half, but maybe before then. With the COMMON midrange conference being held May 6 through 9 at the Disneyland resort in Anaheim, California, you would think that IBM would have something cooking by then.
It is important to note that what IBM is not doing is making deals on the Power 720 rack and tower server, which is the workhorse at most IBM i shops. There could be some such deals in the works, as well as others across the broader range of Power Systems machines and across the AIX, Linux, and IBM i bases. With Intel getting ready to assault the entry server space with its “Sandy Bridge-EP” Xeon E5 processors and related platforms–which sport PCI-Express 3.0 peripheral slots–Big Blue can’t just sit there like a bump on a log.
Correction: This story originally said that in announcement letter 912-016, effective February 21 that IBM no longer let Power Systems machines–either old vintages dating back many years or the Gen2 boxes that came out last October–be routed through the Customer Solution Center in Rochester, Minnesota. I was puzzled by this and said as much. As it turns out, IBM has multiple feature codes for routing through Rochester and it is just eliminating one feature code. Sorry for the confusion, people. But IBM could have said that, too, in the letter.