No Nonsense IBM Power8 E870 and E880 Machines Summary

IBM recently published a redbook about the newly announced E870 and E880 POWER8 servers. Here is a summary of the highlights I got out of the redbook:

· The E870 (9119-MME) is the replacement machine for the p770 series. It is possible to do a model conversion from a 9117-MMD p770 to the new E870.

· The E880 (9119-MHE) is the replacement machine for the p780 series. It is possible to do a model conversion from a 9179-MHD p780 to the new E880.

· The new machines us a “System Control Unit” (SCU) – a separate 2U rack mounted unit that contains redundant service processors, the HMC connections, redundant clocks, and the DVD drive.

· The System Control Unit is powered by being connected to the system CEC’s.

· If you want to have a DVD drive (which would be on the System Control unit) you must have a PCIe USB adapter in one of the CEC’s or expansion units in order to connect the SCU DVD drive to the system via a USB cable.

· Even if you have a 1 CEC system the SCU would allow you to have redundant service processors (in a p770 this would have required a 2 CEC system to have redundant service processors).

· Each CEC is 5U, and the System Control Unit is 2U.

· Internal disks are not supported in CEC’s any more. You must use SAN disks or an expansion drawer. This is a major change as many customers boot VIO servers from internal CEC disks..

· The CEC’s no longer have integrated ethernet ports.

· E870 specifications:

· Will support 1 or 2 CEC’s

· 1 CEC system will be 7U’s (5U for the CEC, 2U for the SCU)

· 2 CEC system will be 12U’s (10U’s for the 2 CEC’s, 2U for the SCU).

· Each CEC has 32 or 40 POWER8 CPU cores.

· Each CEC has up to 2 TB of memory.

· Total system will support up to 80 CPU cares and 4 TB memory.

· E880 specifications:

· Currently supports 1 or 2 CEC’s.

· Statement of direction saying it will support 4 CEC’s in the future.

· Currently each CEC has 32 POWER8 cores.

· Each CEC can have up to 4 TB memory.

· Currently the total system will support up to 64 CPU cores and 8 TB memory.

· Statement of direction says 4 CEC unit will support 128 or 192 CPU cores (it isn’t clear which) and 16 TB of memory.

· What was previously called a “CEC” in p570’s/p770’s is now called a “System Node” (I will keep referring to them as CEC’s in this post since this is what most people are familiar with).

· The new systems use a flexible cables for the connections between the CEC to CEC connections and CEC to system control unit connections rather than the rigid cables the p770’s used.

· These servers will require a CR5 or later HMC running V8R8.2.0 or later software.

· If using 100% virtualized hardware, requires:

· AIX 6.1 TL8 SP1 or later

· AIX 6.1 TL9 SP1 or later

· AIX 7.1 TL2 SP1 or later

· AIX 7.1 TL3 SP1 or later

· If using any physical hardware, requires:

· AIX 6.1 TL8 SP6 or later

· AIX 6.1 TL9 SP4 + APAR IV63331 or later

· AIX 7.1 TL2 SP6 or later

· AIX 7.1 TL3 SP4 + APAR IV63332 or later