So successful that we had to move to smaller premises!
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We have all heard the old story of a computer company that was so successful that is had to move to smaller premises! The point being that they upgraded the computers to much smaller but more powerful ones and did not need the floor space. Well, it is happening to me!
My Advanced Technical Support group are moving from IBM Bedfont Lakes (near Heathrow), UK from building 2 to building 3. That might not sound like much and it is only a stones throw away but we are going from 10 racks down to 3 racks.
The old POWER5 machines that were not upgraded to POWER6 and now POWER7, were found "new homes" on various internal projects or crushed - we can't give them away due to some weird "implied warranted" legal reason. We still had some older machines, which to be honest were being kept for sentimental reasons. For example: the stack of Model 250 "Pizza box" machines on which I use to build old versions of nmon for various AIX 4 levels. Great days! Then two POWER3 workstations called "this" and "that" - which are another story (serious "bragging rights" in their day = 450 MHz!!) , only matched by two machines called "top" and "bottom" which were, inexplicitly, in the rack with bottom on the top, after a field trip to a conference. Mike P, our computer room manager, does have a sense of humour!
But even with 3 racks, we have never had more compute power = 10 machines, combined roughly 300 CPUs, and 70 Virtual Machines (LPARs) running AIX mostly but also Linux, VIOS (of course) and IBM i. Plus a half dozen HMC's and SDMC's for testing new versions. This includes our famous internal 654V technical info Wiki running on POWER6, which we have had to security harden for the internal standard. That story will make another blog - is was easy using AIX commands like aixpert.
Actually, we have three quarters of a rack empty for the next generation of machines - this is not an announcement. At a push we could get all the machines into just 2 racks but then the next machine would have to go on the floor!
We have also upgraded our Storage from nearly a whole rack to just 4U (about 6 inches) by purchasing two Storwize V7000 with 24 TB's in each. We found that by the time the internal IBM process for purchasing machines was done (don't ask) that the new 1 TB disks at a low price were available, so we got a lot more disk space than we would have got 6 months ago.
Oh and there is the Power 795 too but that moves over untouched!
It has been a bit of a "pain in the neck" doing this consolidation but it has been good for us too. I think we just got lazy and filled up the old computer room to the maximum rather than justifying the floor space, which is now just 25% of the original size and we have much fewer but faster machines to look after.
We have not done the maths but we must have also reduced the electricity bill by 75% - I will shortly connect my new IBM Systems Director 6.3 and updated Active Energy manager to all the POWER7 machines and put them in Power Saving but Favour Performance mode to drop the bill by a further 33%. I am still working on a spread sheet to highlight how much we have saved and how much I should get as a bonus!
Any one else got serious consolidation to POWER7 stories to share?
Until next time, Nigel Griffiths.