Our Advanced Technology Support, Europe team have had a few months secretly testing the Power 750/760 internally to IBM as part of the normal Early Ship Program which lets a few machine out of the development labs to be tested by others to gain feedback on the product, documentation, features and usability. I thought others would like to see a few pictures of the team and the equipment involved.
- Please note: This is an Early Ship Machine, so there are a few details like stickers and handle colours that may differ slightly from the final product that gets shipped from March 2013.
Here is the team standing in front of the Power 750/760. From right to left:
Here is the team from right to left
- Jyoti Dodhia
- Gareth Coates
- Main man for the testing of the Power 750/760 hardware and software
- Nigel Griffiths
- Assisting Gareth and testing certain AIX features and 3rd party software
- I forgot to get a picture of Mike Pearson - the machine room manager, who took some of the pictures (sorry Mike)
Here is the actual Power 750/760 in close up being "modeled" by Jyoti:
We have the following configuration
- 24 CPU core Power 7+ - this is two out of the four sockets and each socket has 2 POWER7+ with 6 cores active each.
- Running at 3.1 GHz
- 128 GB memory
- Beta test versions of firmware, VIOS and AIX
- Fibre-Channel for disks and PCIe SAS Controllers for the EXP30
We would like to offer a big thanks to the Development Labs ESP team that let us have access to the latest machines in each generation to test, learn and provide lots of information that we then pass on to technical POWER users.
Below a closer look and the machine:
A few comment:
- The top half looks like the Power 770 and you can just see through the hex grill to the five fans and green "OK" LEDs.
- The I/O features are one U lower than in the Power 770 but otherwise much the same as the Power 770. Size 2.5 inch disks, thin DVD drive and the pop-out control panel.
- Before we get lots of comments this is a Power 760 configuration and "Yes, we know the front says it is a Power 750 on the front cover" - this is an early ship machine and internally where it counts this is a Power 760.
- We put the stickers on the front to remind ourselves of the disk used by the PE (Principle Engineer Clive Benjamin) used when first commissioning the machine and all our machines have colours as names so out machine is call Claret. Which is a colour and not a wine, of course :-)
- The IBM label looks scruffy but that is because we left the protective plastic film on it.
On top of the Power 750/760 with six little covers with rounded orange handles is the EXP30 Ultra SSD I/O Drawer
- it is just 1U
high but amazing technology
- 30 SSD "credit card" size drives
- With a total of 11.6 TB of disk space
- 480,000 IO/sec
It plugs directly into the Power 750/760 PCIe SAS Controllers for
- very high speed,
- low electricity use,
- low heat and
- low noise disk I/O.
They all just work with no real effort - we have them mounted on to one specific VM (LPAR). I just created an AIX 6 or 7 LVM volume group, created a JFS2 and the full I/O speed is immediately available for use. I used my nstress tools and the ndisk64 program to drive the disk I/O testing and was easily able to drive at 2950 MBytes/second on the first few attempts and even on a block size as low as 64KB. I had to mount the JFS2 in Concurrent I/O mode for exclude the use of the AIX file system cache (of course as that would be cheating and not actually using the disks :-) We only have 8 of the credit card size SSD units in the machine but a full complement of 30 would have been even more interesting.
About 13 years ago it took a large a POWER4 based 690 machine with (from memory) 16 CPUs and 3 fully populated DS8000's and a three man team about 5 days to get to 1000 MB/s during benchmark tests in Montpelier, I know as I was there. Now I can put the machine in the boot of my car and take it home to impress the wife and kids!