IBM's long-standing lurch toward unifying the System i and System p server lines reached another, um, milestone this week. The vendor dished out the Power System servers which share the same innards and component nomenclature. In addition, IBM chucked out i5/OS, revealing "i." We'll pause for the appropriate awe to set in. For …
You think AS/400 had it bad!
Spare a thought for us poor old mainframers who have had at least thirteen different names for essentially the same operating system from
OS/360, OS/MFT through MVS, MVS/XA all the way to the current z/OS.
Its even more ridiculus when it come to software nearly all the standard programs have been rebranded and given stupid name --the venerable sort utility have been rebranded as "Tivoli supergood data sequencer" or something.
iSeries, i5, i?
It's still a 400. Much easier to say.
IBM need to be easy on the i.
AS/400? PAH! Noobie...
It's still a System/32 at heart...with 8" floppys, a band teletype printer, and a single 10GB harddrive...
A long time coming
I remember having a presentation from an IBM bod from Montpellier describing a merged archetecture about 20 years ago (I wonder if the non-disclosuer agreement is still enforceable?). This was using a unified backplane with common components, that you plugged the relevent processor card into, and had scheduled using a hardcoded VM implementation that on reflection looked like the current hypervisor. It used common memory between all processors, with IO performed through the VM. The project was at that time called Prism, a term that has been used more recently just in the mainframe world for a hardcoded VM implementation (maybe that is a spin off from the same research project).
I also remember about 15 years ago when it was announced that the Boca Raton people had taken the PowerPC roadmap, and inserted the ppc 615 (I think) processor to run OS/400, extended with additional instructions to assist the running of that OS (and in the process, I understand, rescued the floundering PowerPC family, because Austin were having difficulty getting the ppc 620 (the first 64 bit member on the roadmap) running). Everyone in IBM was talking about merged product lines again then.
The smaller mainframes have long used microcoded 801 (the IBM RISC chip before RIOS and PowerPC) and PowerPC cores in such systems as the 9371 and air-cooled small zSeries systems. I wonder if the full unification of the product lines is still on someones roadmap? I'm sure that I was on a machine room some in the last couple of years, and had difficulty differentiating a p670 and a small mainframe that was close to it on the floor.
In reallity, a lot of the memory, disks, tape drives and I/O cards have been almost identical between the AS/400-RS/6000 and [pi]Series for many years (back to when the RS/6000 was launched), with the only real difference being the controller microcode, the feature numbers and the price!
Oops, not Boca Raton
Not Boca Raton, that was PC, PS/2 and OS/2. I meant Rochester, of course.
And I missed out the OS/2 on PPC, which was also seen as possible to run on the same merged PPC platform, with a common microkernel and OS personallity layers put on top for OS/400, AIX and OS/2.
There's a long-standing gag in the Lotus sommunity that IBM's branding is such that sushi would be marketed by IBM as IBM Cold Dead Fish™
The components are the same or very similar, but what has always been the differential has been the interconnects - the mainframes having a highly unique high-speed backplane, the SP/6000 having the SP High Speed Switch, and the rest using cluster interconnects. Each uniquely suited to do it's own thing for the target market (mainframe = Hulking Giant with lots of users, the SP/6000 series for parallel scientific work, and the clusters for commodity applications and mid-range databases).
Power? More like Dragonball Z
Ok, I was pretty annoyed back when IBM decided to re-brand its server line with nonsensical names (pSeries, zSeries) though it gave me the advantage that if I now mention RS/6000, System/390 or AS/400, I'm automatically tagged as "old school" IT person. (Ok, except for AS/400, as most IT folk still call it that.)
Now it seems like the server line formerly known as AS/400 and the other server line formerly known as RS/6000 are becoming one. Is this one of those Dragonball Z style "fusions", where the new "fused" saiyan has twice the fight^H^H^H^H^H processing power???
Oh well, I began my UNIX days on an RS/6000, which at least I know means "RISC System 6000" and miss the old namings. Current server branding makes me think the Jobsphere warped the IBM branding team...
So, only how many years behind HP Integrity? Whilst IBM dithered and farted around (and shafted their customers), HP had Itanium servers (and blades) which were capable of running hp-ux, Linux, Windows and VMS, often all at once, and without needing wildly different pricing for the same kit. Oh, and thanks to the boys at Transitive and PSI, you can also run Slowairs and z/OS on Integrity too!
Power 6 procesor activation.
From what I am seeing, you must activate all cores installed on a Power 6 520 and 550 (E4A and E8A), so you can not have four cores in a 520 and only activate two (at least When I try it the other two cores are automatically activated).
The 520 machines can not be upgraded in the processor department, as the processors appear to be part of the mainboard rather then on replaceable processor cards like in the other models. his is why they come at 4.2 GHZ only.
The smallest Power 6 system that will let you install dark processors is the 570 (MMA).
@Robert Hill..Pah! etc
Robert, Robert, Robert..
The System/32 never had anything like a 10GB drive. The one I managed had a 13MB drive. I believe it had 32K of usable RAM as well.
It was faster than the System/3 I started on which had 12K of real core and 2.5MB removable drives
To be fair to IBM, A program written on a System/3 in RPGII in 1975 can be run with very little alteration on an i series today. Indeed, there are a number of banking and telco systems in use around the world which have been running, essentially unmodified, since 1981.
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