IBM POWER7 Hosts Redefine Virtualization: Faster, Smarter, Better
IBM POWER7 Hosts Redefine Virtualization: Faster, Smarter, BetterBest-in-class virtualization demands best-in-class hostsWith its new POWER7-based hosts, IBM has upped the ante in the high-stakesvirtualization game, and that move couldn’t come at a better time.In today’s complex, virtualized environments, there’s always demand for superiorhardware. When you run many virtual servers on one physical system, it’s critical thatsystem have the power necessary to support them all simultaneously. And in today’srapidly changing business environment, the number of virtual servers running on a givenhost may increase or decrease dynamically—as will the resource demands of theworkloads they support.It follows that as the quality of the underlying hardware increases, so too will thescalability and flexibility of the business tasks fulfilled by hosts. Ultimately, the businessoutcome they will generate is elevated.Consolidation initiatives, as well, benefit from superior underlying hardware. Therelatively low-end systems that dominate data centers today are typically utilized at lessthan 10 percent capacity. Higher-end systems running a much larger number of virtualservers, on the other hand, will tend to be utilized far more effectively. But before thatcan happen, high-end hosts must first be deployed.IBM offers four new POWER7 hosts designed to drive virtualization to new heightsFor organizations interested in making the leap to truly high-end, virtualization-optimizedphysical hosts of this type, IBM has a compelling new suite of systems sure to satisfy:IBM Power 780: Scalable, modular high-end servers running up to 64 cores, thesemachines also boast a new TurboCore workload-optimizing option.IBM Power 770: A POWER7-updated answer to IBM’s Power 570 enterprise server, alsodelivering up to 64 cores, this system requires up to 70 percent less energy.IBM Power 755: Intended for server clusters, this system is a superlative node capable ofaddressing the most demanding, computationally-intensive challenges.IBM Power 750 Express: This machine targets the midrange space, outcompeting same-class offerings from HP and Sun with more than five times their performance—and sixtimes their performance per watt.For virtualized environments, these hosts offer superior performance and businessflexibility, yet are offered at the same price points as the previous generation. And overtime—thanks to new energy efficiency features and the fact that they support a much
larger number of virtual servers—the new POWER 7 systems will generate a far lowertotal cost of ownership as well.Superior hardware: More servers and business value… less heat and energy costsA significant part of the performance gains in the IBM Power 7xx suite stems directlyfrom the performance gains of the new POWER7 processor, which offers two times theperformance per core of the earlier POWER6.Furthermore, thanks to an increase in the number of cores per processor and threads percore, more tasks are possible per processor than ever before. Each processor can nowhave up to eight cores; each core can now run, in parallel, four threads at any given time.That means on a fully-loaded IBM Power 7xx system, up to 32 tasks per processor canrun in parallel.For virtualization and consolidation projects, more virtualization is possible than everbefore—and more consolidation as well because the new IBM hosts support up to fourtimes as many virtual servers per system as POWER6-based offerings. Today, in fact,they can run up to 640 virtual systems per host—and later in 2010, IBM expects toincrease that number to an even thousand.The business benefits are considerable. Because the total number of virtual servers hasincreased, so has the hardware utilization of each system, meaning that hosts will spend ahigher percentage of time actually running business tasks and generating business valueinstead of sitting idle and generating electrical costs and heat.And while we’re on the subject of electrical consumption, the IBM Power 7xx systemsare substantially improved in that dimension as well. Thanks to a number of remarkablepower management optimizations, these machines require up to 70 percent less energy,depending on context, when compared to the earlier POWER 6 hosts.Add it up and the message is clear: far more virtual servers per host, and far lowerelectricity bills per host and data center.That’s a message most of today’s enterprise-class organizations would love to receive.Smarter software: Simplified management to tune the virtualization engine.Of course, optimized hardware represents only half the value proposition of these hosts;the other half lies in the optimized software IBM offers to get the most from them.As the data center becomes increasingly virtualized, and virtual servers are dynamicallycreated, migrated from one host to another and tuned to changing business tasks, it’sbecoming harder and harder for data center administrators to keep track of it all—letalone ensure that those tasks are carried out in such a way as to hit service level targets,keep a tight lid on costs and proactively minimize or eliminate business risks.
And as more and more data center resources become virtualized—for instance, storage—this situation threatens to get even more complex. In short, with virtualization comesformidable new management challenges, which in turn require effective newmanagement solutions.IBM Systems Director is just such a solution. This elegant package serves as a centralpoint of control for the entire virtualized infrastructure, supplying oversight and dailymanagement functions for as many virtual servers, deployed on as many physical hosts,as is necessary. In addition to status tracking, for instance, administrators can create newservers and provision them from an image library with incredible speed, even automatingthat task in most cases to accelerate deployment and reduce time-to-value to minutes, notdays. And Systems Director is a remarkably comprehensive solution, supporting not justthe new POWER7 hosts, but POWER6 hosts, IBM System z mainframes, IBM System xservers and even a variety of third-party systems based on the ubiquitous x86 platform.Another compelling IBM offering is VMControl, a plug-in for Systems Director. Thistool allows administrators to create and manage system pools—essentially, collections ofsystems, storage and network resources—as if they were a single, extremely high-endmachine. VMControl thus delivers an added layer of abstraction in the data center,allowing managers to focus more on business goals and how well the infrastructure issupporting them, and less on the technical details involved.PowerVM Live Partition Mobility, on the other hand, helps to make the virtualinfrastructure more flexible and scalable. How? Via this tool, administrators can, at will,migrate applications from one host to another without interrupting them or requiringdowntime. This means that if more processing power is required for a given applicationdue to changing requirements, it can be assigned at will; then, when demand falls,applications can migrate back to lower-end hosts. Yet from the user’s standpoint, theeffect is transparent.Finally, many of today’s virtual servers are already running services based on key IBMofferings such as IBM WebSphere, IBM DB2, IBM Cognos or IBM InfoSphereWarehouse. In such cases, these services will receive an additional boost of performancethanks to the fact that all of these packages have been substantially optimized for parallelprocessing.When running on IBM Power 7xx hosts—which offer extraordinary levels of parallelprocessing on up to sixty-four cores and four threads per core—that can make atremendous difference.Additional Information:IBM POWER7 sitelet:http://www-03.ibm.com/systems/power/news/announcement/20100209_annc.html
Bullets:• IBM offers seven new enterprise systems based on the POWER7 processor• These systems represent outstanding platforms for virtualization and consolidation• Up to 640 virtual servers per host: incredible business value• Energy costs are up to 70% lower• Powerful IBM software reduces management complexity and increases scalability andflexibilityTalking points: see aboveTweet tagline: Virtualization needs high-end hosts. IBM’s new POWER7-based hostssupport up to 640 servers each! And IBM software = simplified management, easyscalability.Abstract: The higher-end the hosts in a virtualized infrastructure, the better the businessvalue they will deliver. IBM’s four new POWER7-based hosts support up to 640 virtualservers per host while reducing energy costs up to 70 percent…and IBM software toolsmake it easy to track and manage the overall infrastructure for best business value.Tags/keywords: virtualization, hosts, cores, POWER7, Systems Director, energy, energymanagement.Pull Quote:For virtualized environments, these hosts offer superior performance and businessflexibility, yet are offered at the same price points as the previous generation. And overtime—thanks to new energy efficiency features and the fact that they support a muchlarger number of virtual servers—the new POWER 7 systems will generate a far lowertotal cost of ownership as well.