Some Power Systems Hardware Tweaks
October 17, 2022 Timothy Prickett Morgan
Whenever there is a software update on the Power Systems line, IBM usually has a few hardware announcements to toss into the mix. And last week was no exception, although there were not any new systems announced. Just tweaks to existing ones.
In announcement letter 122-084, we see that IBM is reselling Nvidia’s two port, 100 Gb/sec ConnectX-6 DX network interface card on the Power10 lineup. This is a very popular NIC out there in Server Land, and in fact, it has been in short enough supply in the past year and change to actually have an impact on server sales. The ConnectX-6 DX plus into a PCI-Express 4.0 x16 slot and that means it can really drive 200 Gb/sec of actual bandwidth between the system and the network switches. The ConectX-6 DX can drive signals over passive copper cables or active optical fibers, depending on the distances and latencies required, and costs $3,199.
IBM has also rolled out a PCI-Express 4.0 x8 Fibre Channel adapter card that is a half-height card perfect for rack-mounted servers and that has four ports running at 32 Gb/sec. This adapter card costs an incredible $10,347. There is also a two-port Fibre Channel adapters, with each port running at the same 32 Gb/sec speeds, that costs $8,219. These two adapters are primarily used to link to Storwize hybrid disk/flash arrays or FlashSystem all-flash arrays from Big Blue, but can be used to link to any SAN storage from any vendor that supports Fibre Channel links for network storage.
IBM also has a new four-port 10 Gb/sec Ethernet adapter card that plugs into a PCI-Express 3.0 x8 peripheral slot, which costs a much more reasonable $1,149.
On the storage front, IBM has a new line of NVM-Express U.2 flash drives that are supported on IBM i, AIX, and Linux systems that plug into a PCI-Express 4.0 x8 slot. The 800 GB device costs $1,963, the 1.6 TB device costs $3,666, the 3.2 TB device costs $6,548, and the 6.4 TB device costs $12,573.
IBM has also rolled out a new four-port RAID SAS array with 6 Gb/sec ports that has 12 GB of cache and that plugs into a PCI-Express 3.0 slots. This device is only supported in the high-end Power E1080 server, and is not orderable. So we can’t tell you what it costs.