Big Blue readies Power7 Unix servers

Armonk (NY) – IBM is planning to ship new Unix servers using next-generation Power7 processors. The move, which is an attempt to move more customers away from Sun and HP, should happen in the first half of next year. IBM also said customers can buy current servers with Power6 processors and upgrade to Power7 as they become available.

Big Blue was the biggest name in Corporate Unix servers for years. It had a market sure of around 37 percent in 2008. Its rival Sun had 28 percent.

HP and Sun had started to make inroads into IBM’s market share and it seems clear that Big Blue was waiting for its Power7 technology to make a counter attack.

It has been helped because some of the corporates who might have gone to Sun are a little uneasy about the outfit being taken over by Oracle. Many analysts are concerned that a software company like Oracle is not really sure what to do about Sun’s hardware arm.

IBM said that ‘it will surprise some customers with how cleanly we can take what they bought [from Sun] and upgrade them to the new Power7 based system.’

Power6 upgrades can be done by swapping the processor ‘books’ that contain the chips and memory. Power7 is a lot more efficient than the Power6, which was launched in May 2007. According to Big Blue it can manage two to three times the performance while using the same amount of energy.