Supply Chain Problems Cause Power Systems SAS Controller Shortage
December 8, 2021 Timothy Prickett Morgan
The coronavirus pandemic has been doing strange things to the world’s supply chains for nearly two years now, and all things considered, the Power Systems platform has been largely spared from any serious issues. Until now.
We have just caught wind of a notice that Tech Data has sent out to all of its Power Systems business partners that IBM has plenty of SAS disk drives and SAS flash drives, but that “demand currently exceeds supply availability” for SAS controllers and SAS backplanes. The shortage just hit hard in the past week or so, and now orders that have SAS controllers and SAS backplanes that were expected to be delivered by the end of December have been put on hold.
The specific features that are impacted by the shortage, we are told by business partners who received the notification from Tech Data, include features #EJ10 and #EJ11, which are four-port PCI-Express 3.0 SAS adapters, and #EJ1D, a PCI-Express SAS RAID controller for disk and flash drives. The backplanes that interface with the Power9 motherboard and these SAS controllers are also apparently in short supply.
If you want to have your entry and midrange Power9 machine shipped by December, IBM is suggesting that customers buying machines add the NVM-Express backplanes (features #EJ1T or #EJ1U) to machines instead and add feature #EC5X NVM-Express flash drives, which come in a U.2 form factor similar to a disk drive and which have 800 GB of capacity.
As you might expect, Power Systems resellers have started manning the phones to try to get secondhand SAS controllers and backplanes to try to fulfill their Power9 system orders, and we suspect these will run out pretty soon. These resellers are being told that IBM might not be able to ship SAS controllers and backplanes until January or February of next year, and it might even stretch out to late in the first quarter of 2022.