IBM Powers Data Center Energy Efficiency and Availability

New Energy-Saving Software, First POWER6 Chip in a Blade, and Better ‘Best Practices’ Provide More Application Availability with Less Work on Weekends
(PresseBox) (SAN FRANCISCO, CA, ) IBM (NYSE: IBM) today introduced a powerful array of systems software, hardware and improved availability ‘best practices’ to help companies substantially reduce energy consumption and more effectively manage their computing environments. The new technologies and services allow clients to use fewer servers, make better use of existing technology and actively monitor power usage, while eliminating significant blocks of planned downtime and freeing up IT staffs on weekends and off-hours.

Today's announcements include:

- A wide-ranging variety of software solutions designed to improve customers’ ability to easily deploy, virtualize, manage and upgrade their systems
- New POWER6(TM) processor-based IBM BladeCenter(R) JS22 Express systems, bringing the power of the world's fastest chip to a blade form factor for the first time
- A new Availability Factory, allowing qualified customers to get a no-charge assessment of how to implement their own roadmaps to improve application availability and energy efficiency

At the heart of IBM’s announcement is new virtualization software that enables customers to move running applications - or even the entire operating system partition - from one physical machine to another with no impact on application availability. These features - including Live Partition Mobility and Live Application Mobility - allow applications to be consolidated onto fewer machines while active, helping to reduce energy consumption.

The same features combined with the ability to update hardware, firmware and software, including the UNIX(R) operating system kernel itself, while it is running, are the cornerstone to a new roadmap. The software enables customers to perform systems maintenance, updates and application migrations and consolidations at, for example, 2 p.m. on Tuesday instead of 2 a.m. on Sunday, and is designed to eliminate blocks of planned downtime and create less work on weekends for IT staffs. The Solaris operating system running on a SPARC processor-based server and the HP/UX operating system running on an Itanium(R) processor-based server do not have such features to allow movement of active applications and operating system images without interrupting production operations.

Customer cites 'advanced level of energy management'

Informations-Technologie Austria (iT-Austria), the leading Austrian provider of IT services for the financial sector, offers computing services such as systems management and production control to Austria's largest banking institutions. The company has been beta-testing Live Partition Mobility on a POWER6 processor-based platform, and worked with IBM to demonstrate that a continuously running SAP system could be moved between data centers 11 km (nearly 7 miles) apart, transparently to users.

"Our beta test of Live Partition Mobility was a complete success," said Felix Fibich, IT architect at iT-Austria. "Using Live Partition Mobility, we've been able to provide constant and continuous access to systems and applications without interrupting the service during planned downtimes due to site and system maintenance. And we've been able to provide an advanced level of energy management, moving computing resources transparently to those locations where the data center's power management can make the best use of it."

"Today’s news demonstrates that energy efficiency is a guiding principle of everything we do, affording customers maximum flexibility in addressing this crucial environmental – and financial – issue. And with that focus we've also enabled our clients to innovate in the areas of application availability, continuous operations and overall IT asset utilization." said Scott Handy, vice president, marketing and strategy, IBM Power Systems. "We've wrapped our new and unique capabilities into a customizable roadmap for customers which can fundamentally change for the better what were best practices for overall IT operations."

Power Systems Software

Today IBM announced a broad Power Systems Software initiative which includes a six-layer integrated, yet modular, systems software stack for UNIX, Linux(R) and i5/OS(R) customers including virtualization, operating systems and integration, high availability, security, energy management and platform management. Within the stack, IBM announced a number of new and updated offerings, extending its lead in UNIX virtualization and energy-management capabilities.

The software, which supports the new POWER6 processor-based blade servers as well as applicable IBM System p(TM) and System i(TM) servers, includes the following:

Virtualization

- Advanced POWER Virtualization (APV) Standard Edition effectively turns a single server into a machine with up to 10 "virtual" servers per processor core, eliminating the need for multiple physical servers, which reduces energy costs while enabling the creation of resource pools (memory, networking, etc.) that can be shared by each virtual server. The combination of IBM POWER(TM) processor-based servers and APV Standard Edition can lower the total cost of ownership up to 72 percent when factoring costs such as maintenance, software support, personnel and facilities, according to a recent International Technology Group study. (1)
- A new version of APV announced today, APV Enterprise Edition, includes the addition of the UNIX-exclusive Live Partition Mobility, a unique virtualization technique that integrates chip technology, firmware and POWER Hypervisor™ technology to enable POWER6 processor-based servers to move live logical partitions, including the operating system and all associated applications, from one server to another while the systems are running.

Energy

- A new offering, part of the IBM Systems Director family, called Active Energy Manager (formerly IBM PowerExecutive(TM)), exploits the energy management features of POWER6 EnergyScale(TM) technology. It provides features such as power trending, power-saving, capping of maximum power and thermal measurement/reporting that enable better facility planning, energy and cost savings, and peak energy usage control. For instance, clients can leverage EnergyScale technology to customize the power consumption of their systems and tailor it to their particular data center needs. The power-saving feature may reduce processor power consumption by up to 30 percent.

Operating Systems

- AIX 6, IBM’s newest version of the UNIX operating system, which recently completed a highly successful open beta program that featured rigorous customer and ISV testing with more than 14,000 downloads, will be made generally available later this week. AIX 6 now comes complete with a new binary compatibility guarantee (2) for applications which run on prior releases of AIX, role-based access control at an operating systems or Workload Partition level, an encrypting file system, and support for concurrent updates to the operating system kernel. The concurrent kernel updates and WPAR help reduce planned downtime and improve continuous application availability. i5/OS on System i servers and Linux on POWER on System i or System p servers are also part of the Power Systems Software operating systems and integration layer.

Security

- The new IBM Workload Partition Manager for AIX allows a single copy of AIX 6 to have multiple defined partitions, each with its own security settings for administrators, users and application workloads. Workload Partition Manager also includes Live Application Mobility which allows all the applications in a Workload Partition to be moved while still running to another copy of AIX 6 even if on another physical POWER4(TM), POWER5(TM) or POWER6 processor-based server. Also new with AIX 6 is Security Expert, which allows administrators to control more than 300 security settings from a single console. Security settings can be exported and imported as a security profile to multiple systems.

High Availability

- Announced today are new versions of High Availability Cluster Management Program (HACMP)(TM) V5.4.1 and Cluster Suite Manager V1.7 for AIX and Linux operating systems, designed to help customers maximize system availability and performance for AIX and Linux. iCluster for i5/OS, which provides data mirroring across disks and servers, is available now to customers from IBM.

The best of IBM on blades

Simultaneously, IBM announced today the first blade server based on POWER6 – the world’s fastest microprocessor. The processor’s tremendous speed and memory, combined with the integration and power savings of IBM BladeCenter, enables customers to create dense, energy efficient data centers.

The new JS22 BladeCenter Express -- replete with two dual-core POWER6 processors with APV included with each blade -- offers unprecedented technology, virtualization, performance and reliability in a Blade form factor, easing the way for customer consolidations that help lower maintenance and energy bills.

Blade servers allow clients to pack more processors into the same power and cooling envelope, maximizing valuable floor space in the data center. A recent study determined that one rack of IBM's new POWER6 processor-based blades is so powerful when virtualized that it can replace 23 non-virtualized racks of Sun's latest V490 servers running at a 20-percent utilization rate, potentially saving more than $200,000 per year in energy costs alone, based upon maximum energy usage rates.(3)

At a media event in San Francisco yesterday, IBM shared its BladeCenter S demo with press for the first time. This is a comparison of BladeCenter S with HP’s c3000 BladeSystem for mid-sized clients that demonstrates that the energy-efficient BladeCenter S may be less expensive and better designed for the needs of small and medium businesses.

Availability Factory

The new IBM Availability Factory, modeled on the highly successful IBM Migration Factory and IBM Server Consolidation Factory, allows qualified Solaris and HP/UX UNIX customers to get a no-charge assessment of how to implement their own roadmaps while moving to AIX and POWER.

The company has put aside a $5 million fund for ‘no charge’ assessments over the next six months for qualified customers who wish to migrate to Power Systems Software on AIX and POWER to improve energy efficiency and increase application availability. Many technology-preview customers have already told IBM that Live Partition Mobility and Live Application Mobility, combined with the ability to do concurrent hardware, firmware and operating system updates, will fundamentally change how they do UNIX operations.

Pricing and availability

POWER6 processor-based Blade systems for AIX. Linux on POWER and i5/OS are scheduled to be available on BladeCenter H and BladeCenter HT chassis beginning November 30.(4) A JS22 Express configuration, including 4 GB memory, a 73GB hard disk drive and BladeCenter H chassis is priced at $10,363.(5)

AIX 6, Advanced POWER Virtualization and related software will be made generally available on November 9. IBM Systems Director Active Energy Manager is scheduled for general availability on December 14. APV Enterprise Edition is available as a "no-charge upgrade" to all existing POWER6 processor-based System p 570 APV Standard Edition users and at the same price as APV Standard Edition for all new System p 570 buyers through end of year. APV Standard Edition will be added at no-license fee to each POWER blade server.

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