Midrange Power7+ Servers: The IBM Sales Pitch
April 8, 2013 Timothy Prickett Morgan
I have spent the past several weeks analyzing the price/performance of the hardware, software, and maintenance for the new Power7+ midrange machines, the Power 750+ and Power 760+. And this week, after looking at prices for various hardware configurations and for raw computing capacity set up with IBM i and Software Maintenance, we take a look at the sales pitch that IBM is giving to business partners and resellers to help them peddle the new iron to existing IBM i shops and against competitive products out there in the midrange.
Just to keep it all clear in your head how last year’s Power 750 machine, based on Power7 processors, stacks up against the new Power 750+ and Power 760+, here’s a handy summary table that compares and contrasts the basic feeds and speeds between the two classes of boxes:
One of the things IBM wants to make clear about the Power 760+ is that it is absolutely competitive with the four-socket and eight-socket servers based on Intel‘s Xeon E7 series of high-end processors. The four-socket Power 760+ that is double-stuffed with two six-core Power6+ processors running DB2 10 and AIX was able to handle 25,488 users on the SAP Sales and Distribution (SD) benchmark test, and here is how it stacks up to Xeon E7 iron:
The real question that existing IBM i shops want to answer is where they should be thinking of upgrading to, in terms of the Power 750+, Power 760+, and even the Power 770+, if they are coming from specific machines. This table could prove to be helpful:
What I also find interesting in the table above is that for customers who have large logical partitions and data intensive workloads, IBM is actually recommending customers stick with Power7-based Power 750 machines. This doesn’t make a lot of sense to me. Go figure.
Here’s the consolidation sales pitch that IBM is making for older Power 550 and 570 systems moving onto the Power 750+ and this seems a lot more straightforward:
You can do similar math on four Power 550 machines with a total of 32 cores running at 40 percent utilization, moving all four workloads over to the slower Power 750+ machine with Power7+ chips spinning at 3.5 GHz. If you run the shiny new Power 750+ at 60 percent of CPU, you get a 31 percent capacity increase, cut the rack space used from 16U down to 5U, chop energy use by 60 percent, and save $60,000 in hardware and software maintenance over three years.
Of course, you could also just push utilization up higher on the four Power 550 servers and spend nothing. That said, 40 percent CPU utilization is about as good as most enterprise servers do most of the time, and pushing it up to 60 or 65 percent CPU utilization would be quite a feat.
The one problem I have with these scenarios is that customers are consolidating server images, which means they are inherently increasing the risk in their systems. If you put all of your eggs in one basket, you are going to need some kind of application and database replication and recovery methodology, and this costs money. Nothing in this world is free, and it never will be.