IBM Is Winding Down Sales Of More Power7 Machines
October 14, 2013 Timothy Prickett Morgan
With the Power7+ processors in full swing and the Power8 chips around the corner in 2014, it will come as no surprise to anyone that Big Blue wants to start winding down sales of Power7 processors. The Power7 chips, which made their debut in February 2010 and which were gradually rolled out into the Power Systems line that year, are still both technically viable and, provided you get a good price for a system using one, are also economically viable.
That said, the way per-core IBM i pricing works, it always makes more sense to have the fastest processor possible for each IBM i core, and that means anyone shopping for new machines will almost certainly prefer a Power7+ machine. And with that said, customers and software providers qualify their software on specific machines with specific operating system releases, so IBM has to give customers plenty of warning when older machines are going to be removed from the product catalog.
And so IBM did so in announcement letter 913-223. The PS701, PS702, and PS703 blade servers will be withdrawn from marketing on January 3, 2014. That is also the last day that customers will be able to buy Power 710, 720, 730, 740, 750 rack and tower machines based on the Power7 chip, and ditto for the PowerLinux 7R1 and 7R2 rack servers that also use the earlier Power chip. (The PowerLinux machines, also debuting in early 2010, are only able to run Linux and have deep hardware price cuts to attract new workloads to the Power platform.)
Not that it matters much to IBM i shops, but IBM will also stop selling its Power 775 supercomputer on that same day. That is the behemoth massively parallel Power7 machine that scaled up to 2,048 drawers that was slated to go into the University of Illinois as a machine called “Blue Waters” before Big Blue pulled the plug on the project. Each drawer in this machine could, in theory, deliver around 800,000 units of oomph on IBM’s Commercial Performance Workload (CPW) relative performance benchmark test if IBM i ran on it.
January 14 will be the last day that you can get a Flex System p460 quad-socket node for the PureFlex system, which is also based on the Power7 chip, and ditto for the Flex System p24L, which is a PowerLinux variant of the p260 node.
A slew of features that are used in conjunction with these machines are also being removed from IBM’s product catalog early next year, so if you have one of these machines installed in your shop, you might want to take a look and see if there is something you need before it is not available. As always, the reseller channel will continue to stock new Power7 systems and peripherals until they run out of inventory, and after that the second-hand market will be able to supply parts.