Wednesday, November 14, 2012

IBM POWER 7+ Better Late than Never?

Anticipation of POWER 7+
In August 2011, when Oracle released the SPARC T4, IBM decided to release something, but it was not a CPU chip, but a roadmap... problem was - IBM POWER 7+ was late.

Courtesy, The Register
 Not only was it late, but apparently it would be VERY late. In a previous Network Management article:
Thank you for the IBM August 2011 POWER Roadmap tha the public marketplace has been begging for... did we miss the POWER7+ release??? A POWER 7 February 2010 launch would have POWER 7+ August 2011 launch (and today is August 31, so unless there is a launch in the next 23 hours, it looks late to me.)
IBM Flex p260 CPU Board, courtesy The Register
Disposition of POWER 7+
Just announced, via TPM at The Register, is the ability to provision an IBM p260 with new POWER 7+ processors!

IBM finally released POWER 7+, in one system, 15 months late. How underwhelming.

IBM POWER 7+ die image, courtsy The Register
Disposition of POWER 8
The question that no one is asking: Where is POWER 8, according to the IBM roadmap?

The POWER 8, according to the roadmap, should be released roughly February of 2013. Why release the POWER 7+ just 3 months shy of releasing the POWER 8? This suggests a problem for IBM.

The 2013 timeframe is roughly when Oracle suggested they may start releasing SPARC T5 platforms, ranging from 1 to 8 sockets. The POWER 8 surprisingly has a lot of common features with the SPARC T5 -the POWER 8 may have gone back to the drawing board to copy SPARC T5. How late is POWER 8?
Conclusions:
Whatever happened, something broke at IBM. For a piece of silicon to be delayed 15 months, IBM must have needed to bring POWER 7+ back to the proverbial drawing board. The big question is - did IBM need to bring POWER 8 back to the drawing board, as well?

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