Taking IT beyond

IBM POWER and AIX Release Highlights

AIX and Power logosIBM’s POWER line of servers continues to advance and provide new levels of industry leading performance and scaling. Below are just some of the recent IBM announcement highlights.

A new offering, Power Enterprise Linux Engines, provides the ability to dedicate cores for Linux only workloads at a substantially lower cost compared to the previous reality. New POWER Enterprise Pools enables users to move processor and memory activations within a defined pool of systems at their convenience. Some enhancements have been released to POWER I/O adapters including SSD, FLASH and other adapters.

The new generation SSD has 2X more capacity in the same footprint with improved price performance. The IBM FLASH Adapter 90 provides for both AIX and Linux support with improved performance and now offers support for the POWER 7+ 720, 730 and 740. The latest POWER announcements include a refreshed PCIe2 large cache adapter that is more energy efficient, sold at a lower price, and is the preferred adapter for SSD.

The IBM FLEX System Chassis now offers a Cisco Fabric Extender, providing another choice for users looking to connect FLEX System Chassis to their Cisco network. It also acts as a port aggregator thereby reducing management when connecting to a Cisco network and supports Ethernet, iSCSI, and FCoE protocol. It is managed via the Nexus 5K and the new Nexus 6K Top Of Rack switch modules.

Back to POWER: Datatrend was on the first wave of AIX developers back in the RT era and later the first generations of the RS/6000 platform and all the later iterations up to and including the current Power 7+ offerings. IBM has been impressively committed to keep the industry leadership edge with this award winning platform….but not just at the large enterprise class segment of the line. IBM has a complete line of servers including an entry level 2u form factor offering which is very popular today to power both Linux and AIX workloads at hotels, resorts, restaurants, banks, retail stores, and much more. Some view the POWER line as mostly focused on ultra high end server solutions and while POWER does rule the roost in this space, its entry level servers compete with lower end x86 price points.

The POWER VM Live Partition Mobility performance is dramatically improved with the latest announcement set and there now is a POWER VM VIOS Advisor that is included with POWER VM Enterprise Edition which polls key performance metrics from minutes to hours, analyzes the results and produces a report that summarizes the health of the environment, and proposes potential actions that can be taken to address performance inhibitors.

The SmartCloud Entry 3.2 for POWER Systems is an OpenStack integration for alignment with emerging cloud standards, interoperability with OpenStack based offerings, enhanced third party device support, and provides flexible cloud delivery. The OpenStack enhancements for optimized POWER Cloud include a host of capabilities; I am sharing just a few including virtual server deployment/relocation/restart, intelligent & policy driven virtual server placement, optimization for server utilization & energy consumption, and increased virtual server availability and resilience.

POWER SC v1.1.3 (Security and Compliance) provides for numerous capabilities and a complete briefing could be dedicated to this alone. A few of the highlights: simplification of management and measurement of security and compliance reduces the cost of it, improves the detection and reporting of security exposures, and provides improved audit capability to satisfy reporting requirements. POWER Linux compliance automation is provided/supported along with improvements in Trusted Firewall and TNC Patch Management. New support for the version 2 of the PCI standard is also included.

POWER HA System Mirror V7.1.3 minimizes planned and unplanned outages at great improvement levels over past HA capabilities. This is another subset of the POWER announcements of which a complete briefing could be dedicated. It supports multi-site solutions for disaster recovery, fault tolerant storage configurations with HyperSwap, cluster cloning for fast deployment, operator failover policy for multi-site topologies, Active-Active HyperSwap with DS8800 and DS8870, single-node HyperSwap for cross-campus fault tolerant storage, a cluster simulator (try your configuration before implementation), and much, much more.

With respect to AIX enhancements, there is a new capability whereby a consistent back up is provided even in the presence of a workload that is creating and deleting temporary files. Other new AIX enhancements include improved and expanded LDAP support for users and groups, an improved WPAR management update (AIX 7.1 only), improved WPAR life cycle management (AIX 7.1 only), and much more. The improved WPAR life cycle management feature allows existing AIX 5.2 or 5.3 versioned WPARs to be upgraded to AIX 7 WPARs. AIX Enterprise Edition includes entitlement to POWER VC.

Again, if you would like a more comprehensive overview on the latest POWER announcements (or any platform), contact Charlie Cox at charlie.cox@datatrend.com or your Datatrend account manager.