Following on from announcing its plans for the iSeries server line in the Power5, Power6, and Power7 generations, between 2004 and 2010, the look of IBM Corp’s [IBM] future iSeries machines is now a hot topic of conversation.
According to people familiar with IBM’s plans, the company is readying rack-mounted iSeries machines.
AS/400 minicomputers and 9370 mini-mainframes dating from the late 1980s were all rack-mounted machines. In 1994, IBM switched to its own tower configurations for entry and midrange AS/400s and to the big refrigerator-style boxes for high-end AS/400s.
While it has made rack-mounted variants of the RS/6000 and pSeries Unix server lines it has not believed it needed rack-mounted AS/400 or iSeries machines.
IBM made some half-hearted attempts to rack up Model 270 and Model 820 servers a few years ago when it was chasing the application service provider (ASP) market, but it has done nothing to make the density of the iSeries or its packaging come even close to what other servers provide.
With the Squadron series of Power5 machines, due next year, sources say that IBM will deliver machines that can be put in industry-standard 42U racks.
What is also rumored is that it will deliver a two-way 4U form factor that can be used as a rack-mounted server or can be flipped on its side to be used as a tower machine. This is what IBM does with many of its xSeries and pSeries machines.
It also looks like there will be an 8U form factor machine that could house one or two four-way Squadron servers that are linked through a high-speed, NUMA-like SMP interconnect, like the one IBM uses on the 16-way xSeries 440 (32-bit Xeon MP) and xSeries 445 (64-bit Itanium 2) Summit servers.
At the high-end, the iSeries will eventually get the same 64-way Squadron Power5 box that is being sold in the pSeries line. These machines will come in their own chassis, just as zSeries, iSeries, and pSeries machines do today.
The big Power5 machines may be purple, not black, paying homage to the ASCI Purple 100 teraflops parallel supercomputer that IBM is building for Lawrence Livermore National Labs.
This article was based on material originally published by ComputerWire.