Feeds

IBM preps AIX 7.1 for autumn Power7 harvest

Little boxes and big bad iron

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

In the computer racket, it has always been much easier to get new hardware out the door than the software to take advantage of it fully. And so it is with IBM's Power7-based Power Systems machines and its AIX variant of Unix, which is slated for a 7.1 update in the autumn.

AIX 7.1 is expected more or less concurrently with the high-end 256-core Power7 box, presumably to be called the Power 795. This server will sport 1,024 threads and perhaps as much as 8 TB of main memory in a single system image, and the word on the street is that it will also host 640 logical partitions running Big Blue's PowerVM hypervisor.

The word on the street is that IBM is working on high-density memory cards, necessary to balance the large number of cores, and that these - not the operating system and not the multichip modules that will go into the Power 795 machine - are what is holding up the big iron box. Once one part of the system is late, there is no reason to rush out the rest, so the software engineers working on AIX 7.1 are getting a little more time to step on some bugs. Perhaps until late September or early October, when AIX 7.1 is rumored to be shipping.

IBM could, of course, announce it well before then and may be under pressure to launch new Power boxes and AIX 7.1 ahead of plan if Power Systems sales continue to slump in parallel with System z mainframe sales. IBM had originally planned to launch the midrange Power 750, 770, and 780 servers in May of this year (plus a Power 755 variant for HPC customers), but moved them up until February.

The Power 750 and 755 are four-socket machines in a 4U chassis, while the Power 770 and 780 are SMP machines that have from one to four of these 4U chassis, rip out half the processor cards and add in SMP electronics, and then scale as far as eight sockets or 64 cores in a four-chassis system. IBM also pulled the Power Systems 700, 701, and 702 blades into April; the PS700 and PS701 are single-socket blades, and the PS702 snaps two of the PS701s together to make a double-wide, two-socket blade with 16 cores.

The company has three more entry Power Systems in the works - a good guess is a Power 710 and a Power 720 and maybe a Smart Cube appliance server based on the Power 710 box - in addition to the high-end Power 795 box. It is a good guess that IBM has a single-socket entry tower and rack machine as well as a two-socket machine, since these are necessary to keep customers running its proprietary OS/400 and i happy.

While IBM has a number of very large shops running i5/OS V5R4, i 6.1, and now i 7.1, which came out in April, the vast majority of the i base is comprised of SMB customers who have no idea what to do with a 256-core Power Systems machine, and no means of paying for it either. Finally, IBM has also previewed the gigantic Power7 IH node used in the "Blue Waters" petaflops-class supercomputer, which El Reg told you all about last November.

IBM is pretty tight-lipped about what features AIX 7.1 will have, but Satya Sharma, the chief technology officer for the Power Systems division, says that going from a 32-socket machine with 64 cores and 128 threads to one with 256 cores and 1,024 threads (IBM has been very careful to not say how many sockets the big AIX box will have) requires a rethinking of the locking strategy inside the operating system.

Internet Security Threat Report 2014

More from The Register

next story
Docker's app containers are coming to Windows Server, says Microsoft
MS chases app deployment speeds already enjoyed by Linux devs
IBM storage revenues sink: 'We are disappointed,' says CEO
Time to put the storage biz up for sale?
'Hmm, why CAN'T I run a water pipe through that rack of media servers?'
Leaving Las Vegas for Armenia kludging and Dubai dune bashing
Facebook slurps 'paste sites' for STOLEN passwords, sprinkles on hash and salt
Zuck's ad empire DOESN'T see details in plain text. Phew!
SDI wars: WTF is software defined infrastructure?
This time we play for ALL the marbles
Windows 10: Forget Cloudobile, put Security and Privacy First
But - dammit - It would be insane to say 'don't collect, because NSA'
Symantec backs out of Backup Exec: Plans to can appliance in Jan
Will still provide support to existing customers
prev story

Whitepapers

Forging a new future with identity relationship management
Learn about ForgeRock's next generation IRM platform and how it is designed to empower CEOS's and enterprises to engage with consumers.
Cloud and hybrid-cloud data protection for VMware
Learn how quick and easy it is to configure backups and perform restores for VMware environments.
Three 1TB solid state scorchers up for grabs
Big SSDs can be expensive but think big and think free because you could be the lucky winner of one of three 1TB Samsung SSD 840 EVO drives that we’re giving away worth over £300 apiece.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Security for virtualized datacentres
Legacy security solutions are inefficient due to the architectural differences between physical and virtual environments.