Sundry I/O Enhancements For Power8 Servers
June 16, 2014 Timothy Prickett Morgan
In addition to the new four-core Power8 system aimed at IBM i customers that came out last week, IBM made a bunch of I/O and storage announcements relating to the new machines.
In announcement letter 114-094, which came out on June 10, IBM said that it was making its existing two-port communications adapter (that is feature 2893 and 2894) orderable for machines running IBM i. These replace the two-port asynchronous communications adapters (features 5289 and 5290) that were announced with the new machines back in April. Those cards are now not going to be supported.
IBM does not yet have any coprocessor or networking cards that can support its Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI), which allows these devices to be linked into the memory hierarchy of the Power8 processor to create a single virtual memory space that spans these devices. (This is very important for hybrid processing.) But, IBM is working on it with partners, including Mellanox Technologies and Nvidia, and the company is also letting customers know that it will be charging for the activation of the CAPI functionality in Power8 systems. It will, in fact, cost $1,500 per system. This is feature EC2A.
IBM is also updating the EXP30 Ultra Drawer (feature EDR1) with its third-generation eMLC 1.8-inch solid state disks, which have a 387 GB capacity. That is feature ES0J for AIX and Linux and feature ES0K for IBM, and you can buy these in six packs at a discount as well. You can plug them in the following Power7+ machines: Power 720, 730, 740, 750, 760, 770, and 780; and PowerLinux 7R1, 7R2, and 7R4. These 1.8-inch drives were available with the Power8 machines when they launched back in April, and now the EXP30 drawer has been modified to allow these new 1.8-inchers to be added and mixed with the old ones. The drives cost $3,588 a pop. Yup. Flash is more expensive than processors. If you buy a six-pack for $19,375 that will drop the cost to $3,229 per drive.
IBM is also offering a bunch of additional conversions that allow for flash drives used in Power7 and Power7+ systems as well as the feature 5802 and EL36 I/O drawers to be converted for use in the feature 5887 and EL1S I/O drawers for the Power8 machines. It involved tweaking the carrier trays and tweaking the feature codes.