TBR       When...
TBR                    IBM System x eX5 Server Capabilities       Performance/Scalability                Simplification   ...
TBRIBM grew its System x eX5 se...
TBRseeking to consolidate large databases frommultiple machines. The x3850 X5 provides up to                              ...
TBRSystem x eX5 servers allow customers to run            can perform the same tasks as multiple competingmuch larger data...
TBR                                                            The System x x3850 X5, for one, can scale        IBM eX5 eX...
TBRmanagement technology with “call home”                 automatically report problems to IBM Warrantyfeatures, which all...
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IBM System x eX5 Servers Attack Customers Most Challenging IT Problems


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IBM System x eX5 Servers Attack Customers Most Challenging IT Problems

  1. 1. TBR When it came to determining the features and capabilities to include in its fifth generation of System xEnterprise X Architecture-based servers, dubbed System x eX5, IBM’s System x server team did notmerely pick from a list of nice-to-have features or defer to its technological bag of tricks. Instead, theteam went directly to the source. Team members packed their suitcases and hit the road on a 22-city tourto talk to System x customers. IBM’s System x eX5 Server Family  For TBR to develop this whitepaper, it was essential to IBM’s System x eX5 servers are available in two-socket gain a clear understanding of and four-socket rack-mount and blade form factors IBM’s goals in developing the Source: IBM System x System x eX5 server family, as well as the System x Because business needs have changed so dramatically since the eX5’s capabilities and the release of fourth-generation System x Enterprise X servers in early specific features and functions 2008 – and the System x team wanted to directly address current IBM devised to meet its needs – the team sought to gather and incorporate direct customer objective of improving feedback in its fifth-generation of Enterprise X machines, the customers’ business System x eX5. Customers’ priorities quickly became apparent: performance. To gain the They desired a server family that was simpler to manage, more required knowledge, we flexible and well balanced – and that provided a superior value. conducted a series of interviews with IBM’s System “Customers said, ‘We need more memory versus more sockets,’” x design and marketing Alex Yost, IBM Vice President and Business Line Executive for managers. System X told TBR in an interview. “They said, ‘We need more The findings in this paper are balanced systems.’” Based on this and other knowledge gained also supported by a series of from the 22-city tour, the team set out to design a family of servers interviews conducted with IBM that would provide a great deal more flexibility, not only in terms of customers through TBR’s pricing and performance, but also in the ability to scale processor Customer Satisfaction studies, counts and memory capacities. as well as targeted research in Providing more memory became one of the areas of IBM’s System x Responding to the primary goals of the System x eX5 customers’ needs, server customer satisfaction. family. Larger memory allotments are TBR believes IBM is vital to alleviating many of the most providing businesspressing pain points of x86 servers: lack of flexibility and scalability when value throughimplementing virtualization and databases. So, while it goes without saying that enhancements thatcustomers expect increased server reliability and performance from IBM’s provide a new level ofSystem x eX5 servers, the company sought to take it’s newest fifth-generation performance,Enterprise X Architecture one step further by significantly increasing memory – optimization andto add virtual machines and increase database performance – to tackle their top efficiency with itspriorities while helping to save on server hardware, maintenance and software System x eX5 serverslicensing costs. IBM also significantly broadened its System x eX5 serverofferings. Its System x eX5 family includes both dual-socket and four-socket rack-mount servers alongTECHNOLOGY BUSINESS RESEARCH, INC. www.tbri.com P: (603) 929-1166 pg. 1
  2. 2. TBR IBM System x eX5 Server Capabilities Performance/Scalability Simplification Cost Reduction • Latest Intel • Flexibility to get the • Lower management processors IT they need, the requirements = way they need it Lower Operating • More memory and Expenses more processor • Customers can buy cores allow for: what they need • Increased server when they need it utilization and lower • More and bigger software licensing virtual machines • Workload-optimized fees; fit more • Larger-sized models address processors into an databases database and existing space virtualization and • Faster database shorten time from • Reduced energy performance deployment to costs production Source: IBMwith the company’s first Enterprise X Architecture-based blade servers. By providing both dual-socketand four-socket offerings in both rack-mount and blade form factors, IBM delivered an increase inflexibility for customers, including the ability to add dual-socket servers on a pay-as-you-grow basis. Theenhancements brought forth by IBM in its System x eX5 servers are directly related to their incorporationof the company’s fifth-generation Enterprise X Architecture chipset, a version of the server equivalent ofa nervous system created to work with Intel’s next-generation server processors. The fifth-generationchipset doubles the amount of memory available in an IBM server when compared to competitors’ Intel-chipset-based based servers. IBM System x eX5 servers provide an additional memory-boost feature,which allows customers to add a total of as much as four times the number of DIMMs (dual-inlinememory modules) that can be found in standard dual-socket Intel-chipset-based servers.IBM, through its Enterprise X chipset and resulting System x eX5 servers, is giving its customerssomething competitors cannot: Increased flexibility and cost savings made possible by a breadth ofSystem x eX5 offerings and configurations, from two-socket to eight sockets, and from 32 DIMMs to 96DIMMs, which provide increased performance and efficiency as well as lower software licensing costs.The result is a decrease in total expenditures – both up-front and over the servers’ lifetimes – thanks to theSystem x eX5 server family’s ability to lower software license fees, as well as administration,maintenance and electricity costs, while consolidating from large x86 server implementations to a smallernumber of more highly-efficient System x eX5 machines. When replacing proprietary technology, IBM’sSystem x eX5 family offers lower prices per machine, along with decreased management costs andsoftware licensing fees, while still providing enterprise-level scalability, reliability and performance.The System x eX5 family also provides additional value by delivering improved performance for specificmission- critical workloads, including databases. The family provides solutions-oriented servers, whichare optimized (on a hardware and software level) for virtualization-driven server consolidations as well aslarge database implementations. The System x eX5 family provides a cost-effective solutions forbusinesses to consolidate large x86 server installations or move from proprietary platforms such as SunSPARC or HP Itanium while improving performance and increasing manageability.TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS RESEARCH, INC. www.tbri.com P: (603) 929-1166 pg. 2
  3. 3. TBRIBM grew its System x eX5 server standardize on the two-socket, rack-mount System x 3690 X5. IBM designed the x3690 X5, whichfamily to match broader spectrum of shares the same Enterprise X Architecture as allcustomers’ business needs System x eX5 servers, for density and ease of implementation. Due to its performance, memoryIBM created the System x eX5 Server Family to capacity and virtualization capabilities, the Systemmeet customers’ wide-ranging needs for x x3690 X5 can replace numerous older servers.performance and price. The addition of several Customers can start out by purchasing a smallnew server form factors and configuration options number of x3690 X5 machines. Then, as the needwithin the System x eX5 family allows businessesmore ways to access theenterprise-level server IBM System x eX5 Server Configurationsperformance, scalability and  x3690 X5: All-new, dual-socket rack-mount server design that provides density for virtualizationreliability features madepossible by IBMs Enterprise X  x3850 X5: Enhanced four-socket design deliversArchitecture with at lower price increased performance and memory capacity forpoints than in the past. databasesThe System x eX5 server family  x3950 X5: IBM’s four-socket Workload-Optimized offeringis IBM’s first to include provides pre-configured and pre-tested options for database and virtualizationEnterprise X Architecture inboth dual-socket rack- mount  BladeCenter HX5: IBM’s first Enterprise X-Architecture-and blade-based server models. based blade server offering; offers two or four socketsThe availability of the x3690 Source: IBMX5, a new two-socket System x eX5 server, makes arises, customers can add additional x3690 X5Enterprise X Architecture’s features and servers. The x3690 X5’s memory capacity of up tocapabilities available at lower entry price than 32 DIMMs – nearly double that of competingbefore. Therefore, TBR believes the value servers – can be increased to 64 DIMMs usingproposition of IBM’s System x eX5 servers is IBM’s MAX5 feature. This allows the machine toclear. Customers can expect to choose from an significantly scale up the number and size ofarray of System x eX5 servers to find the machine virtual machines – and therefore the number ofthat offers the right mix of features and pricing for applications – it can run simultaneously. Thetheir needs. x3690 X5’s large memory capacity also makes it well-suited for running smaller-sized databases. IBM’s first Enterprise X Architecture-based bladeIBM’s System x eX5 server offering, the eX5 BladeCenter HX5, allows customers to combine the performance andcapabilities focus on flexibility, memory capabilities of rack-mount System x eX5expandability and cost management servers and MAX5 memory expansion capabilities, with the density of BladeCenterFlexibility: The IBM System x eX5 family allows blades. IBM’s HX5 blades are available in eithercustomers to dictate their own terms when it two- or four-socket configurations.comes to deploying new servers. Customers whoare looking for scalability at a relatively low entry IBM’s System x 3850 X5 provides a high-price – or those who wish to pay as they go by performance, four-socket system for customersadding servers based on escalating needs – can moving off of proprietary UNIX-based systems orTECHNOLOGY BUSINESS RESEARCH, INC. www.tbri.com P: (603) 929-1166 pg. 3
  4. 4. TBRseeking to consolidate large databases frommultiple machines. The x3850 X5 provides up to IBM System x eX5 Memoryfour processors and 64 DIMMs, with the ability toincrease memory capacity by an additional 50% to Standard eX5 Model With MAX596 DIMMs with MAX5. In addition, customers Memorycan boost input/output performance with the x3650 X5 512 GB 1 TBaddition of a new eX5 flash-based storagetechnology, which utilizes solid-state drives toincrease database performance. x3850 X5 1 TB 1.5.TBIBM’s System x eX5 family also includesnumerous Workload-Optimized options for HX5 128 GB 320 GBcustomers who seek simplified deployment of pre-configured and pre-tested servers. IBM’s System x Source: IBM3950 X5, its Workload-Optimized option, pairs the servers should the need arise. Where the System xfour-socket capabilities of the x3850 X5 with a eX5 family’s memory capacity enhancespre-tuned, pre-configured and pre-tested approach, performance, it also meets a critical need for allprovided by IBM experts, to deliver a range of customers by reducing costs.drop-in-and-go options for customers who seek toutilize virtualization for consolidation or to run Optimized memory performance: To providemission-critical databases. high-levels of performance while maintaining flexibility, IBM delivered its System x eX5 servers with expansion capabilities, including MAX5 for IBM eX5 MAX 5 Memory Expansion memory and eXFlash for database performance.Increases server utilization and performance by With MAX5, the System x 3690 X5 rack-mountupping Virtual Machine or database capacity server and BladeCenter HX5 blade, can deliver up  Delivers an additional 32 DIMM slots to to 64 DIMMs or 40 DIMMs, respectively. x3690 X5 and x3850 X5 rack-mount servers, increasing memory capacity by 128 GB to 512 GB IBM System x eX5 Server Cost  Delivers an additional 24 DIMM slots to Savings HX5 blades, increasing memory capacity Competing two- by 96 GB to 384 GB Source: IBM IBM x3690 X5 socket server Hypervisor cost $7,000 USD for $7,000 USD for 2 (per processor) 2 processors processorsIBM’s System x eX5 family’s Memory capacity 32 DIMMs 16 DIMMsmemory expansion saves on costs Virtual machine 200+ Virtual 100+ Virtual capacity Machines Machinesand delivers increased performance Result Due to its higher memory capacity, IBM’s x3690 X5 with MAX 5 can supportWith the ability to combine multiple server nodes more VMs, leading to lower cost perthat each incorporate next-generation Intel Xeon VM, compared to leading competitors’processors, IBM’s System x MAX5 memory dual-socket servers.expansion and IBM’s System x eXFlash SSD Source: IBM(solid-state disc drive)-based database Lower software licensing costs: Utilizing theperformance accelerator, IBM’s System x eX5 System x eX5 family’s memory expansionfamily allows customers to easily arrive at the capabilities allows customers to reduce theirlevels of performance they need for their specific software licensing fees for virtualization andapplications, while leaving some computing power database software. Software vendors typicallyin reserve and having the option to add additional charge licensing fees by the processor socket, but the large memory allotments found in IBMsTECHNOLOGY BUSINESS RESEARCH, INC. www.tbri.com P: (603) 929-1166 pg. 4
  5. 5. TBRSystem x eX5 servers allow customers to run can perform the same tasks as multiple competingmuch larger databases or add many more virtual servers.machines per processor. This reduces the need toadd additional two-socket servers for virtualization IBM’s System X eX5 familyand, in many cases, the need for additional provides pre-tested and configuredprocessors in a four-socket machine – both ofwhich lead to lower software licensing fees. optionsBecause of its memory capacity, including the IBM System x eX5 DatabaseMAX5 upgrade, the x3690 X5 can run more than Workload Optimized Solutions200 virtual machines without increasing softwarelicensing costs, as the number of processors (in Job type Server Deploymentthis case two) stays the same. The addition of large Data x3850 X5 IBM provides x3850 X5numbers of virtual machines cuts down on Warehouse server with full pre-hardware costs as a single IBM x3690 X5 server deployment hardware and integration testingprovides room to consolidate more virtual Database x3950 X5 IBM provides ready-to-machines than competing servers, allowing the Engine deploy x3950 X5 serverx3690 to accomplish what it would take multiple with fully tested andcompeting dual-socket machines or a much more integrated databaseexpensive four-way server to do. software and hardware Integrated IBM IBM provides software,A dual-socket x3690 X5 with IBM’s MAX5 Solution Smart hardware andfeature can sustain more than 200 virtual machines Analytics deployment of database– the same number as a competing four-way System server solutionserver. The result is that the x3690 delivers more 2050virtual machines for the same software license Source: IBMprice, when measured against a competing dual- For customers who prefer a pre-configured andsocket system, or the same number of virtual tested system, IBM’s x3950 X5 provides an IBM-machines for half the price, when measured tuned and configured option for running largeagainst a competing four-way machine. The key to databases. IBM can also help customers avoidIBM’s expanded memory capacity is reducing the server optimization and deployment headachesnumber of servers deployed. The benefits inherent with pre-configured workload-optimized models,in System x eX5 servers lower costs by allowing specially designed and configured for databases orbusinesses to do more work in the same space for for virtualization applications. IBM’s System xless costs. IBM eX5 does so by tackling crucial System x eX5 family includes a number ofcomputing needs with fewer servers, which Workload Optimized Systems, which provide anrequires smaller numbers of software licenses for option to deploy pre-configured and pre-testedand IT personnel to administer to each machine. hardware; software and networking for customersThis approach also reduces electricity and cooling who intend to use virtualization for servercosts. consolidation or those who are running mission-The equation is similar for IBM’s x3850 X5 and critical databases.BladeCenter HX5 blades: The ability to increase These Workload Optimized Systems allowthe size of a database or the numbers of virtual customers to reduce their post-deploymentmachines running on one machine without optimization by ensuring that the right serversincreasing the processor counts leads to lower with the right configurations, networking andhardware and software costs. Customers can put software are chosen from the start. IBM provides amore virtual machines or a larger database on each number of application-specific System x eX5System x eX5 server than on competitors servers. server options under the System x WorkloadIn many cases, a single IBM System x eX5 server Optimized system. The range of choices allows customers to purchase an optimized server basedTECHNOLOGY BUSINESS RESEARCH, INC. www.tbri.com P: (603) 929-1166 pg. 5
  6. 6. TBR The System x x3850 X5, for one, can scale IBM eX5 eXFlash Database natively to two nodes utilizing Intel’s QPI Performance (Quickpath Interconnect). The multiple node  Leverages SSD (solid state drive) configuration capability allows a great deal of to accelerate IOPS performance by flexibility when taking advantage of IBM’s 50x to 200x vs. hard disk drives System x eX5 FlexNode feature on the  Up to 1.6 TB of capacity per BladeCenter HX5. FlexNode provides the ability eXFlash Pack and three eXFlash - to automatically reboot a node that experiences a packs per system failure.Provides performance and cost-savings for databaseimplementations due to high IOPS, greater reliability IBM System x eX5 FlexNode Dynamicand lower energy consumption vs. hard disk drives System Allocation Source: IBM  Allows one 4-socket HX5 server toon their specific needs and their specific switch between two and four socketapplication – virtualization or database – as well as operationtheir desired level of pre-configuration and testing.  Allows each 4-socket HX5 server to act like two separate dual-socket machinesWorkload Engines come in the equivalent of  Provides automatic failover and nodesmall, medium and large. A small option includes rebootan x3850 X5 server, whose hardware has been Provides flexibility, cost savings and security by increasing the number of jobs running simultaneously onpre-configured and is ready to be deployed by the the same server Source: IBMcustomer. A medium option, such as a Database The ability to keep at least one node of a multi-Engine, includes database software fully tested node implementation up and running despite anand integrated on a preconfigured and tested adjacent failure ensures greater server uptime forx3950 X5 server. customers. FlexNode also allows for the automaticIBM will also offer pre-configured hardware-only re-deployment of systems on a project-by-projectoptions and sizing assistance and support for or day-to-night basis. The feature allows a four-applications from Oracle, SAP, IBM Software socket server to run as a two-socket machine forGroup and RedHat. IBM provides IBM Lab certain jobs, while re-combining into a four-socketServices for large System x eX5 deployments in machine for other jobs.addition. As part of this service, IBM engineers Reliability: IBM System x servers have adeliver an on-site assessment of a customers reputation for reliability due to the company’sneeds. The assessment helps reduce future design capability and its history in mainframes.headaches for customers by fully qualifying their IBM’s System x team upheld that reputation whenserver configurations prior to deployment. designing its System x eX5 servers, such as the x3690 X5 and x3850 X5, to provide reliability and high-availability. The company fitted System xSystem x eX5 provides flexibility for eX5 servers with numerous redundant and hot swap components, including hard drives andpay as you go power supplies, while including IBM-mainframeIBM’s System x eX5 family of servers combines inspired technologies, such as memory errorincreased headroom, thanks to increased correction and mirroring as well as predictiveprocessing power and memory capacity, with failure analysis. IBM’s decisions to incorporateprovides a number of built-in flexibility features IBM ChipKill and ECC (error correcting code)which grant customers ‘pay as you grow’ along with Memory ProteXion technology andcapability. For instance, System x eX5 servers memory mirroring all support the performance andhave multi-node capabilities, allowing the reliability of in-memory databases for customersmachines to pool memory and processing power to whose databases are mission-critical. Further, eachtackle larger jobs such as databases. System x eX5 server includes IBM proactiveTECHNOLOGY BUSINESS RESEARCH, INC. www.tbri.com P: (603) 929-1166 pg. 6
  7. 7. TBRmanagement technology with “call home” automatically report problems to IBM Warrantyfeatures, which allow the company’s built-in Support.system health features, including the IBMIntegrated Service Advisor, to address imminent Conclusion: IBM’s System x eX5hardware failures before they cause problems. The family provides strong options forIntegrated Service Advisor’s call home featureallows it to alert IBM warranty service and support mission-critical applicationsto begin a proactive replacement of a part that is There are several notable firsts for IBM’s Systemapproaching failure. The result of being proactive x eX5 servers. For the first time, IBM is providingis preventing any server downtime. its Enterprise X Architecture in a System x serverResiliency: IBM also built additional resiliency that is not solely intended as a performance product for high-end applications such asinto its BladeCenter HX5 blades. The machines databases. Instead, System x eX5 has branched outinclude redundant and hot swap components to to provide a very broad range of servers that matcheliminate the potential for problems arising from asingle point of failure. The blades include with an equally diverse set of customer needs, particularly in the areas of increased density – withredundant power supplies, dual I/O modules, as its BladeCenter HX5 blades – and improvedwell as dual paths for I/O, Power and KVM virtualization performance and cost with its dual-connections. Should an HX5 blade experience a socket x3690 X5. Despite starting at a lower pricefailure, the blades support automated failover point than previous Enterprise X Architecturebetween blades. implementations, the System x eX5 familyManagement tools: IBM has also updated its provides a host of reliability, scalability andSystem Director 6.1 server management console performance improvements, including MAX5software for System x eX5 servers. IBM equipped memory expansion and FlexNode server failoverSystems Director with features designed to and reassignment. These features are designed toimprove deployment speed and remotely meet customers’ needs for increased flexibility andrepurpose servers. One new feature includes the also cost-savings in these uncertain economicability to pre-configure IBM XH5 blade systems times. TBR believes that IBM’s System x eX5identities when utilizing the machines with IBM servers make the ideal candidates mission-criticalOpen Fabric Manager. Additional System x eX5- applications, ranging from server consolidationoriented features present in System Director 6.1 and virtualization to high-end databases. Theinclude remote node partitioning for System x eX5 System x eX5 family provides not only theservers and the ability to setup automatic system performance, but also the flexilbility necessary torecovery parameters. Systems Director also address businesses most pressing needs:includes the ability to leverage automated image Performance and cost savings, all in one package.deployment, remote software updates and, when The bottom line is customers can turn to IBM’sutilized with Integrated Service Advisor, provides System x eX5 family to improve their businessthe automated call-home features, which performance in 2010. XSW03067-USEN-01TECHNOLOGY BUSINESS RESEARCH, INC. www.tbri.com P: (603) 929-1166 pg. 7