if you like IBM‘s Power5 hardware, which has about as much horsepower beneath the skins as any server obtainable, and also you like Linux, you are likely going to just like the new line of Linux-most effective servers from IBM, referred to as the eServer OpenPower machines. And if you just like the OS/four hundred platform, like I do, you will doubtless be questioning why IBM can’t provide such a great deal because it has with the OpenPowers on puppy OS/400 servers.
placing out the OpenServer machines, as IBM did ultimate week, makes ultimate feel. The OpenPowers have something approaching X86 prices for what's arguably midrange OS/400-Unix iron. IBM hopes the OpenPower machines will kickstart consumer and ISV enthusiasm for running Linux applications on IBM’s energy structure. large Blue is hoping that it may possibly experience up the Linux wave and enhance the volumes of its Power5 machines because it receives more difficult to enhance volumes within the RISC/Unix market. this is all well and first rate. but the OpenServers may additionally make AIX clients feel a little chilly, and OS/400 retail outlets feeling disregarded in the cold.
IBM has provided Linux as an operating gadget option on its pSeries Power4 server line for more than a yr, and has been providing Linux inside logical partitions on its iSeries line for a couple of years. The OpenPowers are a little bit distinctive, in that IBM is really creating a laptop that has an intentionally lower fee and that will be confined to operating most effective Linux operating programs from pink Hat or Novell and applications compiled for Linux.
The reasons IBM has decided to launch a Linux-simplest energy server line (whatever they heard about as a opportunity greater than a 12 months in the past) with very aggressive pricing, compared with the i5 and p5 strains (which are in line with the same exact hardware), are complicated. firstly, now that competitors solar Microsystems and Hewlett-Packard have sorted out their Unix server suggestions (as a minimum in comparison with two years ago, when sun become living in denial and HP become in the course of explaining its consolidation strategy within the wake of the Compaq acquisition), it is more durable to make a RISC/Unix deal entirely in response to the expense of the hardware. HP and sun, specially now that the Integrity line has been fleshed out accurate to backside and solar has embraced the Opteron processors in its entry and midrange sun fireplace line, more or much less have good platform plans and pricing within the Unix house. sadly, now that Linux 2.four is well permitted pretty much as good satisfactory to do many Unix-trend jobs, the Unix market is eyeing Lintel iron as a alternative for getting older RISC/Unix iron. The creation of Linux 2.6, which is extra scalable, respectable, and usable (thanks in enormous measure to a better job scheduler and workload manager), handiest makes Linux an easier promote to Unix stores that gasp at the excessive expenses Unix companies can charge for his or her RISC hardware and Unix working methods.
according to Jim McGaughan, director of eServer strategy at IBM, the OpenPower line is starting with a 4U, OpenPower 720 computing device nowadays, which comes with single core, dual core, and quad core alternate options. (The Power5 chip has two energy cores, and a mannequin 720 can have one or two Power5 chip modules, reckoning on the configuration.) McGaughan says that IBM will convey a 2U kind ingredient Power5 computer early subsequent 12 months (likely with one- or two-core alternatives). If the market calls for it, IBM might quite simply create a broader line of OpenPower machines that span from one Power5 core to as many as 64, which is what the long run p5 590 server, due any day now, will present IBM’s Unix valued clientele. If IBM needed to create a low-powered Linux box, it may even slug the Power5 chips, activating just one core and clocking it at half and even one-quarter pace (because it does within the eServer i5 line), and delivering an excellent reduce efficiency and value factor into the Linux market. On the different end of the spectrum, Linux 2.6 scales relatively smartly to sixteen-approach SMP processing, and Linux purposes are doubtless no longer in a position to scale a good deal past eight-approach SMP, so an eight-manner OpenPower box is probably the useful and crucial properly-conclusion restrict for this type of Linux-only server. just as is the case for 32-bit and sixty four-bit X86 iron, by the way.
With the OpenPower machines, no be counted how a long way up or down IBM scales them, massive Blue is making an attempt to create a new hybrid RISC/Linux alternative that shoots the hole between Lintel iron and RISC/Unix iron, offering Unix performance with pricing that procedures that of the better-quantity Linux on X86 platforms. “The chatter from their competitors previous this announcement has been rather excessive,” says McGaughan. “And the candy spot during this market is for two-approach servers. They are aware of it, and they know it.” You may suppose IBM would have launched a two-method server first then, but getting the Power5 chips down to a 2U kind ingredient isn't an easy feat, and it will take a little time. “The OpenPower line introduces some really interesting dynamics for the business, and IBM is aware of now, in contrast to it could have a decade in the past, that you simply get a one-time shot at these markets. it really is why we're coming out with guns blazing.” As for self-influence, he says IBM is neatly mindful that here's going to ensue, that some shoppers who might have purchased an AIX platform will now purchase and OpenPower and decide Linux. He quoted the historical adage in IT: in case you don’t consume your own lunch, someone else will.
The OpenPower 720 is available in three editions, which can be attainable on September 24. the base laptop has a single 1.5GHz Power5 core activated, and it will possibly simplest have one core activated besides the fact that technically the Power5 frame can help two chips and four cores. (IBM is likely utilising Power5 chips where half of the chip doesn’t work.) For $5,000, this base machine comes with 512 MB of leading reminiscence, a single 36 GB disk (10K RPM), redundant vigour and cooling, and an enclosure for holding 4 SCSI disk drives. the two-way OpenPower 720 field can use either 1.5 GHz or 1.65 GHz Power5 cores and comes with 1 GB of main memory and a 36 GB disk; with two 1.5 GHz cores, this desktop expenses $eight,000, and with two 1.sixty five GHz cores, it prices $9,250. It fees another $5,500 to add an additional Power5 module with two 1.5 GHz cores grew to become on and one other $6,750 to add two 1.sixty five GHz cores. in all probability most startling, IBM is charging a lot less cash for the accurate same leading reminiscence and disk drives in the OpenPower packing containers as it costs for the i5 and p5 versions of the machines. leading memory charges from $640 for a 1GB DIMM (42 p.c cheaper than on the i5 and p5) to $2,800 for a 4 GB DIMM (21 percent cheaper). 10K RPM disk drives range in cost from $275 for a 36 GB disk to $699 for a 146 GB disk. IBM is charging between 63 and 69 percent less for these disks than it does for i5 and p5 machines, and with 15K RPM disks, IBM has slashed the fees by 72 to 74 %.
So how do these OpenPower server prices stack up to examine to configured IBM eServer p5 and i5 machines? Let’s do the p5s first, given that it is a cleaner evaluation. A two-manner p5 model 520 with 1.sixty five GHz cores, 2 GB of main reminiscence, and a 36 GB drive costs $10,800, in comparison to $9,760 for an OpenPower 720 with the identical configuration. (These expenses don't encompass an working gadget.) both of those machines include average logical partitioning (where the granularity handiest goes down to the core degree). each OpenPower and p5 purchasers have to buy the superior Virtualization Engine features–which offer micropartitioning of as much as 10 partitions per CPU plus virtualized I/O and LAN assist–one by one. It charges a flat $2,000 on the OpenPower machines, and $590 per CPU on the p5 machines during this equal four-means vigor category. An eServer p5 mannequin 550 with two 1.sixty five GHz cores, four GB of leading memory, and two 73 GB disks sells for $20,540, however a in a similar way configured OpenPower 720 will most effective should pay $11,625 for the same iron. In a 4-approach configuration the use of 1.sixty five GHz cores, a p5 550 with eight GB of memory and two seventy three GB disks expenses $32,487, whereas the OpenPower 720 with the identical specs fees $20,675.
There is not any solution to evaluate uncooked i5 iron to the OpenPower iron given that the entry i5 model 520 express machines include an operating system, a database, and a hard and fast volume of eco-friendly-display processing power. but that you can lower back out of it another method. if you configure a similar two-means i5 mannequin 550, that you would be able to see what the precise top class IBM is charging for the use of i5/OS V5R3 and DB2/400. An i5 model 550 with two 1.65GHz Power5 cores activated, 4 GB of main memory, and 146 GB of disk, operating OS/400 common edition and not using a interactive processing ability but having DB2/400 built-in, charges $126,350. The same actual iron in the OpenPower 720 line costs $11,625 without an operating device, and $13,625 with the Virtualization Engine partitioning points. while IBM will say that a few of that fee difference has to do with lessen CPU, reminiscence, and disk costs IBM has for the OpenPowers, it's nonsense. what's in reality occurring is that IBM is charging an extra $112,725 to run i5/OS and DB2/four hundred on the identical exact server. And in case you need to use 5250 eco-friendly-screen processing potential on the same box, you must deploy i5/OS V5R3 on that same server, which charges an extra $292,000. Assuming that IBM makes no cash on the OpenPower field in this comparison and assuming that i5/OS doubtless handiest prices IBM just a few grand to make and guide (say $400 per CPU for i5/OS and $2,500 per CPU for DB2/400), that would seem to imply that the gross profits on an i5 mannequin 550 with two processors and full-on green-screen ability are within the latitude of 97 p.c. consider about that for a minute. For every i5 model 550 IBM sells, it might subsidize about four OpenPower 720s and nonetheless flip roughly 20 percent gross income on all five servers.
Linux prices come nowhere near these bundled i5/OS and DB/four hundred levels, partly as a result of IBM has particular bargain offers with red Hat and Novell to get industrial Linux on these machines (as well as on the i5 and p5) at reduce costs than is available at once from these companies. that you can get SuSE Linux business Server 9 (which is the level supported on the Power5 packing containers) through IBM for $689 for a gadget that has up to two processors, and for $1,299 for any equipment that spans from 1 to sixteen processors. unlike Novell, purple Hat doesn’t can charge per equipment (despite the variety of partitions), but per Linux instance on a server within partitions, besides the fact that there is just one partition (that means it's in impact an SMP server). via IBM, you could get purple Hat business Linux AS three update three (which is required on the Power5 machines) for $995 on a two-approach laptop or partition and for $1,295 on a partition or computing device that spans up to an eight-way instance. McGaughan says that IBM will launch its personal electronic technical support service along with purple Hat and Novell, probably someday within the fourth quarter, so IBM’s customers can get the equal one-contact with world features for guide for Linux as they get for OS/four hundred and AIX. (purple Hat and Novell are backing up theses choices with degree three guide, simply as they do for similar HP features.)
by the way, there is some nonsense talk going round that the Power5-Linux packing containers wouldn't have any applications. The fact is, IBM has about 600 Linux purposes obtainable for energy-Linux, which compares decently to the 750 functions in the crimson Hat-on-X86 portfolio and even the Itanium portfolio, which had about 400 applications spanning home windows, Linux, and Unix through the conclusion of 2003. McGaughan says that any PowerPC or Power4 Linux utility can run on the Power5 machines apart from functions primarily compiled to take knowledge of the VMX vector co-processor in the PowerPC 970 processors utilized in IBM’s BladeCenter blade servers. Any energy-Linux application that does not use these VMX features will run even on the PowerPC 970.
What the OpenPower announcement makes clear is that i5 and p5 customers are being asked to subsidize IBM’s aggressive moves into the Linux house, much as OS/400 shops have subsidized IBM’s aggressive moves into the Unix market when you consider that 1997. The OpenPower announcement is exquisite information for IBM’s competencies Linux customers, but is probably now not so top notch for the midrange retail outlets who are not getting such favorable pricing for his or her Power5 hardware. but IBM has to do some thing to pump up Linux on energy chiefly and power server volumes generally, and here is a superb tactic in spite of the fact that it is not specifically reasonable (whatever thing on earth that might mean within the company world).
The truth is, in today’s the server business, there are a couple of other ways that server makers can differentiate their items. one way is to create a single server hardware platform that helps as various operating gadget structures as is technically feasible and economically purposeful. here's the formulation HP is the use of to champion its Integrity line of Itanium servers (which assist windows, Linux, Unix, and soon OpenVMS); in a similar fashion, IBM has used a distinctive OS strategy to prop up revenue of its zSeries mainframes (which aid a few mainframe operating programs plus Linux and an AIX runtime environment) and its iSeries midrange gear (which have run OS/400 and Linux for years and which now help AIX with the eServer i5 machines launched in might also).
The other method to differentiation is the one which IBM has interested in the eServer line in a broader experience with the “Squadron” Power5 servers. IBM is creating versions of the Power5 frames which are in accordance with the exact same hardware, however range from every other in operating system alternate options, microcode and partitioning points, and pricing. The eServer i5 mannequin 550, the eServer p5 550, and the OpenPower 720 are all based on the actual equal hardware, but they are bought with very different options on top of that hardware with very distinctive pricing. and also you can't “upgrade” from one box into one other. You need to make your platform choice forward of time, and live with it.
With the HP Integrity strategy, you get an economic value (which is tough to quantify) in that you should run a number of diverse working gadget systems on the same box both on the identical time or in a series over the path of the technical and economic lifetime of that server. HP costs an attractive hefty top rate for this multi-OS potential, which is the hallmark of its Integrity line, compared to what it expenses for processing potential on its ProLiant X86 server line. With the IBM eServer approach, IBM has been promoting the equal fundamental hardware with expenditures that rely on the way you use it. IBM used to discriminate towards AS/four hundred and iSeries purchasers who were buying PowerPC or Power4 iron in comparison to the cheaper RS/6000 and pSeries iron in line with exactly the same hardware. With the Power5 line, IBM has locked the i5 and p5 hardware prices, and is differentiating on the software level. OS/400 has legacy eco-friendly-display utility help and an integrated database, and IBM costs a very hefty top class for these capabilities, which it may well do for the reason that it has a monopoly on machines that aid RPG and COBOL purposes that run atop of the DB2/400 database. With the Power5 launch this yr, IBM has shifted all the top class it used to charge for AS/four hundred and iSeries servers into the brand new i5/OS operating gadget. Now, AIX has develop into a kind of legacy environment of its personal (as has HP’s PA-RISC machines operating AIX and sun’s UltraSparc-III and UltraSparc-IV platforms working Solaris), and IBM is compelled to cost a top rate for Power5 iron operating even AIX–at least in comparison to that upstart, Linux.
Like Unix changed into the rate/efficiency driver of the Nineties, Linux is shaping as much as be the catalyst for the largest bang for the buck in the 2000s.