Wednesday, October 3, 2012

IBM's new DS8870 promises up to 3x performance increase over the DS8800


Well, here it is, the new DS8000 generation, with a new look.

And I know what some people will say : yet another generation of that old technology. Well, let me make just one silly analogy. Do you know when the DS8000 series was first announced ? No ? It was October 12, 2004. Indeed, quite a long time ago. Another question : do you know when Lionel Messi made his debut in the first team of FC Barcelona ? No ? Its was October 16, 2004. Well, I can tell you one thing : I wouldn't kick (pun not intended) Messi out of my team yet. So, I can just advise you, don't throw the DS8000 out of your data center either.

There is an announcement per warranty period for the following models : 2421-961 (ZG12-0261), 2422-961 (ZG12-0293), 2423-961 (ZG12-0291) and 2424-961 (ZG12-0292). So, the 2421 has one year of warranty and so on for the other models. There's a separate announcement (ZG12-0263) discussing the software licences.

Technical specifications

But let's concentrate on the facts now. It is clear that the DS8870 strongly builds upon the DS8800 technology (hence, I assume, no DS8900). Let me summarize some of the improvements that were already introduced with R6.3 last April : New 400GB SSDs, self-encrypting drive options FDE for all drive tiers, Easy Tier (4th generation) support for encryption and enhanced Thin Provisioning. Next to that the DS8870 has the same number of host adapter, maximum host adapter slots, maximum physical capacity. Mind you : a couple of features are no longer available on the DS8870 like e.g. the 450GB drives and the 300GB SSD drives.

But, let's concentrate on the new stuff !

Overall there should be an up to 3x performance improvement. This is first of all realized through the introduction of the Power 7 processor. Where the DS8800 had a maximum of 4 cores, you can now have configurations with 2, 4, 8 and even 16 cores. The cache has also considerably been increased from maximum 256GB to 1TB. Just pay attention : there's a close relationship between the number of cores and the amount of cache. One example : you could have a 4-way DS8800 with 256GB of cache. On the DS8870 you'll need an 8 core for this.
If you want to see more details about the performance, you can have a look at the SPC-1 and SPC-2 benchmarks. Results should be available quite soon.

Next to that, there are also improvements regarding power consumption. The "DS8870 provides dc uninterrupted power supplies to replace the current primary DS8800 power supplies". This should result in a reduction in energy use of up to 20%. For a fully equipped box the base frame consumes 6.0 kW (7.6 kW for the DS8800) and 5.6 kW for the first expansion frame (6.2 kW on the DS8800).

Full disk encryption drives are now the standard. As a customer you still have the possibility not to purchase this, but since there is no performance impact, why shouldn't you. Your data will always be safe, even if the system or some disk drives leave your data center.

As a side note, the DS8870 is also RoHS compliant in that it meets the 2013 European Union requirements for restricting hazardous materials.

The DS8870 will be available on October 19, 2012 and upgrades will be possible on December 14, 2012.

Documentation and education

Let's start with a demo of the new machine showing you how it looks on the outside as well as on the inside.

The IBM DS8870 web page is over here with a.o. link to the data sheet which also shows you a brief comparison with its predecessors.

 I'll let you know when the redbooks become available.

There's also a webinar on Tuesday October 30 at 5 p.m. Brussels Time  :

And let's conclude with, what else at new announcements nowadays, a Youtube video summing it all up.

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