Big Blue Chops PureSystems CPU And Memory Prices
August 5, 2013 Timothy Prickett Morgan
With the Power Systems business and the System x business not growing in the most recent quarters, I have been expecting IBM to start testing the elasticity of pricing on its plain vanilla Power and X86 boxes as well as on the PureSystems modular systems to stimulate a little business. IBM has not made a lot of pricing changes this year, but did last week on its PureSystems line as part of a third quarter push.
Specifically, in announcement letter 313-060 on July 31, IBM tweaked the prices on X86 processors used in the Flex x220, x240, and x440 processor nodes and on the main memory used in the Power-based p260 and p240L server nodes as well as in the rack-mounted PowerLinux 7R2 machines. Here are the price changes as well as a description of each feature, which IBM does not provide in its announcement letters and which I have helpfully added to the feature numbers:
As you can see from that monster table above, the price changes on the Xeon E5 processors were fairly modest, ranging from 3 percent to 9 percent, depending on the machine and processor features. As you will recall, at the end of December last year, IBM took out the red pen and cut prices on the Xeon processors used in these machines as well as chopping prices pretty steeply on disk capacity and main memory. The price cuts back then ranged from a low of little as two-tenths of a point to a high of 28.8 percent, with the average somewhere around 15 percent.
The largest price cuts in the July 31 announcement, thankfully, were for main memory used with Power7 and Power7+ Flex nodes. On the two-socket p260 and p260+ servers, 16 GB and 32 GB memory modules used to cost $53.13 per GB, and after the price cuts it drops to $24.94 per GB. Oddly enough, even after a 64 percent price cut, the cost of an 8 GB stick on these machines costs $28.75 per GB, more than for the fatter modules above. If you want 64 GB modules, then it used to cost $100 per GB, but the price was chopped by 56 percent to $43.72 per GB. Pricing for main memory on the PowerLinux p240L Linux-only server node for the Flex System chassis are exactly the same before and after the price cut.
Interestingly, memory for the PowerLinux 7R2 rack-mounted server had much more modest cuts, dropping only by 13 percent for 16 GB and 32 GB modules (to $24.94 per GB) and by 7 percent for 64 GB modules (to $43.72 per GB). Yup, you read that correctly. Regular Power Systems customers buying two-socket Flex System server nodes are getting PowerLinux pricing. As far as I know, this low pricing does not apply to regular rack-mounted Power Systems machines, but I will look into it to make sure.