IBM pushes out sixth generation X-architecture severs

IBM Corp. has freshed its X-architecture for x86-based servers, saying the sixth-generation improvements are aimed at analytic and cloud workloads

“Our enterprise X-Architecture for x86-based servers and solutions delivers high performance and the highest customer satisfaction in the industry, making us number one in high-end x86 systems,” Adalio Sanchez, general manager for IBM x-86 and PureSystems Solutions, said in a news release. “We continue to innovate and deliver leadership performance, reliability and investment protection for mission-critical workloads with X6.”

The X6 architecture has integrated eXFlash memory-channel storage, which the company says in an industry first. The DIMM-based storage provides up to 12.8 terabytes of flash storage close to the processor, which IBM says will increase application performance with low system write latency.

It could reduce the need for external SAN/NAS storage, the company added.

The design of X6 systems are modular and support multiple generation of CPUs, which can reduce acquisition costs, IBM said. Fast set-up times and configuration patterns are said to also simplify deployment.

There are also features that can help extend cloud delivery models to mission-critical applications, IBM said. The memory and storage changes can increase virtual machine capacity to allow SaaS delivery of applications. In addition, autonomous self-healing CPU and memory systems will maximize application uptime by identifying and correcting potential failures. In addition, IBM will sell Upward Integration Modules that can help reduce the cost and complexity of system administration by allowing operators to perform management tasks through virtualization tools.

Severs with the new architecture include the System x3850 X6 four-socket system, System x3950 X6 eight-socket system, and the IBM Flex System x880 scalable compute nodes.

IBM [NYSE: IBM] also is introducing the System x3650 M4 BD storage server, a two-socket rack server supporting up to 14 drives delivering up to 56 terabytes of high-density storage. IBM says it provides 46 per cent greater performance than previous comparable IBM System x servers and could be used for distributed scale-out of big data workloads.

There are also new X6 solutions for analytics, database and cloud deployment, including IBM System x Solution for DB2 with BLU Acceleration on X6 for accelerating analytics, IBM System x Solution for SAP HANA on X6 for analytics, and System x Solution for VMware vCloud Suite on X6 for infrastructure-as-a-service capabilities.

In addition to the new server line, IBM announced the general availability of the new FlashSystem 840, which it says nearly doubles the bandwidth and doubles the performance — 1.1M IOPS — of its predecessor, the FlashSystem 820. It supports up to 48 TB of usable capacity in a 2U unit.  There’s also new management GUI, the ability to hot-swap components and concurrent code load.

The FlashSystem Enterprise Performance Solution bundles the FlashSystem 840 and IBM System Storage SAN Volume Controller (SVC) technology. It includes a suite of data management features ranging from Real-time Compression, snapshots, thin provisioning, VAAI, and application aware copies, to FlashCopy, and storage virtualization with IBM Easy Tier.

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Howard Solomon
Howard Solomon
Currently a freelance writer, I'm the former editor of and Computing Canada. An IT journalist since 1997, I've written for several of ITWC's sister publications including and Computer Dealer News. Before that I was a staff reporter at the Calgary Herald and the Brampton (Ont.) Daily Times. I can be reached at hsolomon [@]

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