Thursday, January 12, 2006

i5/OS V5R4 and Storage Changes

Several weeks ago I posted links to an expected February 2006 release for V5R4 of i5/OS. My Business Partner is now telling me to expect an announcement in February as well, so that seems pretty much confirmed.

On that note, I have some more technical observations about some things in this article from The Four Hundred (that I mentioned in the previous post).

According to Herring, starting with the Power5+ generation, IBM is going to do away with the idea of requiring IOPs for storage....The AS/400 architecture was always unique in that it supported what is really asymmetric multiprocessing, with relatively modestly powered central processors hooked to legions of intelligent I/O processors that were equipped with microcode that allowed them to run what would otherwise be thought of as jobs suited for a central operating system. Going forward, IBM is doing away with this architecture, said Herring, as much to get the i5 and p5 lines in synch as to improve the availability of the i5 servers.

We also read that the old IOP architecture can remain. This is good to hear. Initially, I read into this that the entire IOP architecture would be removed. But after review, it's just the storage IOPs that will be removed. Another interesting observation about this is that IBM is working on having the i5 and p5 lines more closely related. We know that at IBM Rochester they build and ship i5 and p5 systems. As I have read from an IBMer, "It takes an iSeries to deliver a pSeries..." - meaning that the Rochester manufacturing lines use an iSeries with Domino to aid in the manufacturing of i5 and p5 systems!

Also in the article, we read that The difficulty of moving to a SAN architecture for storage with the iSeries has to do with the much-praised single-level storage in the platform. First, OS/400 needs to boot locally as it is currently written, Moreover, OS/400 needs to have both main memory and disk to create its single-level memory, and OS/400 doesn't share well. But the techies in Rochester are working on a way to boot OS/400 across a SAN fabric. Moreover, IBM is also working on a way to allow HA software to failover one server attached to a SAN to another server attached to the same SAN. To use Herring's words, this is like using a SAN as a logical independent auxiliary storage pool (iASP).

To quote Darth Vader - "Impressive. Most Impressive!" I have spoken with our IBM Customer Engineers on this and they have mentioned testing this with a customer in our area. So this is definitely not just an abstract IBM is considering.

Now Playing: "Carolina Blue" by Tony MacAlpine

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