Sundry Withdrawals For Power7 And Power7+ Gear
August 30, 2017 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The sunrise of the Power9 systems is moving in slow motion and we no longer expect to see shiny new iron using this state of the art processor running either IBM i or AIX until sometime early in 2018. It is looking like maybe March or April at the moment. But the sunsetting of vintage Power Systems iron that will be displaced by the arrival of the Power9 machines is proceeding.
Trying to figure out what is being ripped out of the IBM catalog, and when it will be removed from the sales channel, is more difficult than trying to figure out what is new. Companies make a lot of noise about the new stuff, but they don’t crow like a chanticleer at sunrise when they are going to stop selling something they no longer want to make and stock. Compared to other IT vendors, IBM is very good about giving out details about new stuff and also about telling customers, with lots of advanced notice, when it plans to stop peddling something. Finding those notices is not, however, always easy. These kinds of withdrawal from marketing announcements often fall through the cracks, as a slew of them did late in 2016 and in early 2017, which we encapsulated in a story back in February. It is time to do it again, because more Power7 and Power7+ iron is getting the ax.
On June 27, in announcement letter 917-123, IBM withdrew a slew of features from marketing on the Power line. Some of these withdrawals are effective August 31, so you still have a day to figure out if this affects you and what you might need to buy; others don’t kick in until September or October, so you still have a little time. There are many dozens of Capacity On Demand and processor feature upgrades from older Power chips to the Power7 and Power7+ chips. Frustratingly, IBM’s announcement letters do not provide the detail on precisely what the specs are for these feature conversions, and it would take the better part of a day to sort it out. So, that is work you, dear reader, are going to have to do for yourself and we cannot do for all of you. You know what machines you have, and it is easy to look that up as a single thread; it is a massive multithreaded job to do it for all of you, and honestly, there is no reason IBM can’t put all this level of detail into the announcement and save us all the trouble. It’s kinda stupid when bits are free and this data is all in massive relational databases. Another slew of feature upgrades will get the axe on October 31.
On August 22, in announcement letter 917-140, another set of Power7 and Power7+ parts and processor activations got chopped, with effective dates running from October 31 to as far out as December 2018. This is lots and lots of warning. On October 31, various Power7+ processor cards, with speeds ranging from 3.72 GHz to 4.42 GHz, are being cut from the Power 770+ and Power 780+ servers. Various disk and media backplanes are also getting ripped from the IBM catalog at this time. On March 31 next year, a wide variety of stuff, from cables to adapter cards to memory cards for high-end Power7 servers are being removed. And a bunch of Power7+ processors used in entry and midrange Power Systems iron are being cut. In December 2018, IBM will stop selling memory and processor activation features on various Power7 iron, big and small.
As we always point out, customers who need specific features can often get them from resellers and used equipment dealers, who have their own stocks of certain gear. There is no guarantee that they will have any particular piece of iron, or have it at a reasonable price, however. And if it is in short supply, and it is vital to the operation or expansion of an existing system, it may make sense to just upgrade to a Power8 or Power9 machine instead of investing in older Power7 or Power7+ gear. Now is the time to start thinking about that anyway. . . .
Resellers still have inventories of new and used gear.