The Inevitable Wave Of Power9 Withdrawals Begins
June 20, 2022 Timothy Prickett Morgan
With the entry and midrange Power10 servers coming in a few weeks, and with the supply chains for chip, board, and system manufacturing having more kinks than a Slinky left in the hands of a group of seven-year-olds for several days, it is only natural for Big Blue to focus on lining up all of the parts needed for its Power10 iron and to stop worrying so much about Power9 features and peripherals. Even though it will be selling Power9 iron for quite some time and supporting it for a very long time.
And that is exactly what will be happening over the next two to three years with increasing frequency. We see yet another example in announcement letter 922-057 from June 14, where some Power Systems features are being withdrawn from marketing effect at the end of September or of December.
Specifically, the four-port asynchronous EIA-232 serial communications adapter used in a bunch of Power9 entry machines is not going to be available after September 30, and neither are 16 GB, 32 GB, and 64 GB DDR4 memory modules for the Power LC22 server and the Elastic Storage Server nodes running the Spectrum Scale (GPFS) parallel file system from IBM that are based on these nodes. A bunch of post-sales services billed on the part of IBM Lab Services as well as business partners are also being withdrawn and so are a bunch of things like cables, OEM designations. Take a look at it if you have one of these machines in your shop.
On December 31, power cables for IBM’s power distribution units set up the for Indian market, which come in 200 volt to 240 volt varieties and in a 250 volt version that link the Power L922, Power S922, Power S914, Power S924, Power H922, and Power H924 will no longer be available. This sounds like a fairly minor thing – right up to the moment when you need one, or a dozen.
As usual, secondhand equipment peddlers – including IBM’s own Global Asset Recovery Services business, which is now part of the Power Systems division – have inventories of Power9 systems, peripherals, and features, and while there is no guarantee that they will have a specific part, there is a chance you can find things as they take machines in trade and break them down for parts. That process will be going on for years, and Power9 machinery will be in the aftermarket probably until many of you retire.