More Vintage Power Systems Feature Withdrawals
January 11, 2021 Timothy Prickett Morgan
In with the new and out with the old is a common theme around this time of the year. It may not be officially spring yet – in fact, we are 71 days away from the vernal equinox here in the northern hemisphere – but Spring Cleaning can and does happen at any time in the IBM product catalog.
And so it was as 2020 was coming to an end and after we had out the last issue of The Four Hundred for last year to bed.
In announcement letter 920-167, IBM is withdrawing a number of different features across different times. First off, the 32 GB and 64 GB and 128 GB homegrown “Centaur” CDIMM DDR4 buffered memory used in the Power E850 system was cut on December 8. This doesn’t affect IBM i customers, since the IBM i operating system was not supported either in bare metal mode or atop the PowerVM hypervisor on this particular machine – something we did not agree with at the time in August 2018 but we understand IBM’s reasoning. (Meaning we heard and processed it, but not that we agreed to it.)
On December 31, IBM killed off the 22-core, 2.78 GHz Power9 processor for the Power AC922 processor, which again does not have much effect on IBM i shops except those few customers who bought this supercomputer node to either run HPC or AI workloads adjacent to their Power Systems running IBM i. (Once again, the Power AC922 does not support bare metal IBM i or IBM i running atop PowerVM, although it certainly could just like the Power E850 and Power E950, which don’t as well.)
On March 5 of this year, a slew of features for various vintages of Power Systems machines are being pulled from the catalog, and it is probably a good idea to take a look at this announcement for your particular machine makes and models to see if you are affected. There are a lot of things in here, and there is no apparent pattern to it as far as I can see in the 60 seconds I took to scroll through it.
Finally, in announcement letter 920-172, IBM is stopping selling two 100 Gb/sec Ethernet switches made by Mellanox Technologies, which has been part of Nvidia since last spring. These switches, models 8831-00M and 8831-25M, will be withdrawn from marketing on January 29 of this year. A bunch of cables and transceivers and such are also going the way of all flesh, too.
One last thing. Just because IBM proper is not selling these features – or any of the many other system, processors, features cards, and peripherals that have been withdrawn from the Big Blue catalog in recent years – does not mean they are no longer available in the larger market. There are a fairly large number of third party equipment dealers that peddle vintage Power Systems gear on an as-is basis, and IBM’s own Global Asset Recovery Services division, a part of the Global Services behemoth, sells certified pre-owned Power Systems gear that is taken through the same testing and certification process as new gear before it is put on the market again.