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And now for the software. All of the server nodes are running AIX 6.1 Service Pack 3 in 64-bit mode, as well as IBM's General Parallel File System V3.2.1 and Tivoli System Automation V3.1.0.3 for node management. The application nodes are running IBM's DB2 V9.5 database management system at the FP4 level and one of the nodes runs the InfoSphere Warehouse 9.5.1 data warehouse.

One node on the cluster runs a stack of Cognos 8 modules, including BI Server, Go Dashboard, and BI Samples all at the V8.4 FP2 level. Each of the three servers are set up with four logical data partitions, which has one Power6 core, 8 GB of memory, eight disk drives attached to it. The partitioned database has a 4 TB user space. Customers can add hot standby data and application nodes to the cluster if they want to.

IBM is offering the BAO box with a single product number, but it comes is six different sizes, all given generic (and American) T-shirt sizes to make it simple to talk about. The base box outlined above is the XS size, but to run the full software stack, it looks like you need to get the S size, which has three database nodes and an application server node and has a user space that spans up to 12 TB for the data warehouse to play in.

As the BAO box gets big enough, a special node is added to deal with user management, and standby data and application servers are added to the mix. The M, L, and XL configurations of the BAO box had 7, 14, and 27 database nodes and have 25, 50, and 100 TB of user space. The top-end XXL version has a 200 TB user space and has 53 data nodes, and the whole shebang requires 19 racks, including redundant boxes and storage.

Because every data warehouse is not the same in terms of the data sets and the kinds of queries it needs to handle, the number of users does not scale with the T-Shirt size. IBM is recommending that the XS configuration have 100 named users and that the XXL one have around 5,000 named users. But IBM recommends that all but the largest setup have no more than 50 concurrent users running queries and that the XXL size have no more than 100 concurrent users.

The Smart Analytics System will ship at the end of September, and it will eventually support the predictive analytics software that IBM is getting through its $1.2bn acquisition of SPSS. That deal is expected to close before the end of the year, and it is not clear how the SPSS software will affect the configuration of the BOA box. ®

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