Power9 Servers Get Legacy Adapter Support
April 2, 2018 Timothy Prickett Morgan
It takes an ecosystem to put a system into the field, and not everything that needs to be an option on a system is available on the Day One launch. To that end, IBM this week announced some legacy PCI-Express peripherals for linking into Fibre Channel SAN and traditional SAS storage on the new Power9 “ZZ” entry systems that were announced back in February and that started shipping a few weeks ago.
In announcement letter 118-043, we see the first item is a pair of Fibre Channel adapters that uses the older PCI-Express 2.0 protocol to deliver 8 Gb/sec Fibre Channel links out to SANs. Both features are based on Cavium’s QLogic QLE2562 host bus adapters, which have optical transceivers reaching out to the storage and that support legacy 2 Gb/sec, 4 Gb/sec, and 8 Gb/sec speeds. Depending on the type of cabling used and the speed, the distances of the light pipes can range from 5 meters to 500 meters; the higher the speed, the shorter the pipe, and various multi-mode fibers have maximum ranges of 150 meters to 500 meters running the Finer Channel protocol. Feature #EN0F is a half height card that fits in the Power S922 and Power H922 servers, while feature #ENOG is full height card that can be used in the Power S914, Power S922, and Power S924 servers as well as their Power H922 and Power H924 SAP HANA servers. Both of these legacy Fibre Channel adapters have two ports, and they cost $2,900 each.
Legacy SANs are still used in IBM i shops, and so are legacy tape drives and DVD drives, so the Power9 entry servers. To that end, IBM is actually announcing a PCI-Express 1.0 SAS controller – if you can believe it – that allows for the linking of SAS tape and DVD drives to the Power9 server using a pair of mini SAS 4x connectors. The feature #EJ1N and feature #EJ1P adapters link to a bunch of devices that are not supported on the feature #EJ10 and feature #EJ11 PCI-Express SAS adapters, which plug into PCI-Express x8 slots and that support four SAS ports running at 6 Gb/sec speeds. The PCI-Express 1.0 SAS adapter cards also slide into PCI-Express x8 slots, and allow for the linking of a slew of tape drives, including the 36 GB/72 GB DAT72, 80 GB/160 GB DAT160, and 800 GB/1600 GB LTO 4 units that typically plug into the 7226-1U3 and 7214-1U2 enclosures or to tape drives such as the TS2240, TS2340, TS3100, TS3200, and TS3310. Various removable media devices that can hook to the Power9 servers using these vintage card include SAS/SATA DVD-ROM/RAM drives. These two features come in half height and full height versions, and either costs $749.
These features will be available on April 20.