IBM Challenges x86 Dominance in SMB, Enterprise Data Centers with Power Systems7+ Announcement

On February 5, 2013, IBM announced a major expansion of its Power Systems computers built on its Power Systems7+ RISC processors, obviously intended to challenge the long dominance of x86 servers. “We have priced these systems to compete head-to-head with x86,” says Jason Gartner, VP of PureSystems Product Management.

The PowerExpress 710, 720, 730, and 740 family pricing starts at US $5,947, well within the range of even very small companies and are designed to support Big Data analysis, VDI, and internal cloud systems. “Some SMBs have a lot of data that they need to manage to realize business value,” Gartner said. The systems are optimized for IBM’s analytics software and bring the power of the famous Watson system to SMBs as well as enterprises.

The systems include embedded memory and virtualization, important infrastructure to support analytics and cloud workloads. They minimize the complexities of Big Data and Cloud-based services by automating provisioning, deployment, and management of secure Cloud and Big Data environments. This is specifically designed to make enterprise-class computing practical for SMBs who have limited IT staffing resources.



IBM also announced two new PowerLinux systems, the 7R1 and 7R2 optimized for InfoSphere BigInsights and Streams Big Data analytics software. These can also be configured with an optional IBM solution for WebSphere Mobile and Web Applications to support rapid application development for the iPhone, Android, and BlackBerry.

The 750 and 760 are strong consolidation platforms for mid-sized companies allowing them to centralize Big Data analytics and cloud workloads. Increasing numbers of SMBs are seeing the potential business value of Big Data to their businesses, Gartner said, and are beginning to look for systems. “This widens the breadth of the reach of our Power Systems 7+ family from small companies right up to large enterprises.

“Big Data and cloud technologies that were once only affordable to large enterprises are now available to the masses,” Rod Adkins, Senior VP of the IBM Systems & Technology Group said. “With these new systems, IBM is forging an aggressive expansion of its Power and Storage Systems business into SMB and growth markets.”



IBM is also seeing a huge interest in VDI in companies of all sizes, driven by the mobile computing and BYOD trend, and Gartner predicts that these systems will be popular servers to support what he expects will become a major trend in the next year and beyond. VDI offers an excellent solutions for managing populations of end-user-owned mobile devices accessing company data and applications.

It provides the security that these platforms lack and allows IT, among other things, to wipe all company data including teleconferencing phone numbers and personal schedules from a device that has been lost or stolen or from the device of an employee leaving the company remotely. It also allows IT to deliver security and other patches to these devices and to enforce their implementation by users.



They were announced along with the new PureData Systems for Analytics, powered by Netezza technology designed to support Big Data opportunities and a smaller PureApplication System to accelerate cloud deployments. PureData features 50 percent greater data capacity per rack and can analyze data three times faster than the previous IBM generation. Gartner said that in head-to-head competition against competitive systems for actual contracts, IBM has been winning 80 percent of the time with that earlier generation, making this new version a top performer. It will allow organizations to manage more data while maintaining efficiency in the data center.

The New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) relies on a PureData System for Analytics to handle the enormous volume of data in its trading systems and identify and investigate trading anomalies quickly. The Nielsen Company uses Netezza technology to deliver complex analytic capabilities to support its analysis of consumer behavior. Physicians can use PureData to analyze patient information, and retailers can use it to gain insight into customer behavior.

Storage SmartCloud


IBM also announced SmartCloud Storage Access, software that supports secure private storage clouds, allowing users to store information on the company’s internal cloud. The new package features a Web-based self-service portal that lets individuals create an account, provision the storage they need, and upload files via the cloud with a few clicks and no assistance from IT.

It has announced a major update to the IBM XIV Storage System for Big Data to support up to 12 10GB Ethernet ports, or 22 1 GB Ethernet ports, and up to 6 TB of solid-state cache. These improve the performance of data-heavy workloads by up to five times previous models. IBM also added advanced power supplies to decrease a fully-loaded XIV system’s power consumption by as much as 16 percent over previous models, cutting energy and cooling.

It announced a new real-time compression appliance Model STN7800 v4.1, supporting large complex environments with reduced infrastructure costs. The appliance is based on System x server technology and provides 5x real-time compression, unlimited per appliance software licensing and support for 0GbE optical, 1GbE copper, or mixed 10GbE and 1GbE connectivity.

IBM Global Financing


To complete the package, IBM Global Financing is offering financing plans to credit-qualified clients that include 0% 12-month financing. These are designed to help customers acquire the systems that fit their needs without impacting their liquidity while accelerating ROI and decreasing total cost of ownership.