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Comparing the new Power9 9009-41G vs the 9009-41A

What's the difference between the new IBM S914 9009-41G and 9009-41A Power9 models?

The only difference is the newer 9009-41G S914 model was built entirely with fourth generation PCIe technology, capable of delivering much better I/O performance, bandwidth and faster data transfers. The number of Gen4 PCIe slots vary based on the Power9 configuration, but the 9009-41G supports up to fourteen PCIe4 devices, eleven 6.4 TB Non-Volatile Memory express (NVMe) Solid State Drives for a total of 70.4 TB of usable NVMe SSD storage for an IBM i, AIX, Linux server or VIOS partition.
 
 
9009 41g 9009 41a comparison
 
 

Performance gains of a IBM S914 9009-41G compared to a 9009-41A

The 9009-41G performance gains to be had over its 9009-41A predecessor are in the backplane, storage and controller options selected. Compared to a SAS or SATA SSD, NVMe solid state drives provide significantly better read and write performance (latency), IOPS and bandwidth compared to SATA and traditional SAS SSDs. IBM NVMe SSDs (a.k.a. NVMe Flash Adapters) are directly connected to the Gen4 PCIe bus, and are assigned to a specific LPAR as a device. Whereas traditional SATA and SAS SSDs must rely on a controller and is shared with all the storage it manages.
From a performance comparison perspective, NVMe SSDs can utilize most of the available bandwidth supported by the Power9 Gen4 PCIe slot which maxes out at 8 Gb per NVMe SSD, compared to only 6-12 Gb per storage controller (which must also be shared between all of the managed drives), and Gen3 PCIe has a 4 Gb/s maximum. Therefore, a Power9 SATA SSD could potentially achieve 200,000 IOPS on its best second, where as an NVMe SSD in an PCIe Gen4 slot can achieve over 1,000,000 IOPS. It is also important to note, the Power9 must also have the required V7R4 to use NVMe SSDs and other necessary PTFs and Firmware updates to achieve these performance gains.
 
power9 nvme ssd pcie4 gen4 peformance
 
 

Storage configuration options for the 9009-41G

  • 41G Storage Options
    12 SAS HDD/SSD + RDX or 18 SAS HDD/SSD or 6 SAS HDD/SDD + 2 NVMe U.2 + RDX or 4 NVMe U.2

  • 41A Storage Options
    12 or 18 SAS HDD/SSD or 4 NVMe M.2

EJ1S: Gen4 Backplane with six SFF-3 bays and two NVMe U.2 drives

The EJ1S is a Gen4 backplane providing six SFF-3 SAS bays and two NVMe slots in the system unit. EJ1S supports the following NVMe SSD or Flash Adapters:

  • 58FC PCIe3 x8 1.6 TB NVMe Flash Adapter 01DH570 58FC EC6V EC6U EC5A EC5B EC5G
  • 58FD PCIe3 x8 3.2 TB NVMe Flash Adapter 01LK431 58 FDEC6X EC6W EC5C EC5D
  • 58FE PCIe3 x8 6.4 TB NVMe Flash Adapter 01LK435 58FE EC6Z EC6Y EC5E EC5F

EJ1T: Gen4 Storage backplane with two front PCIe NVMe U.2 drive slots

The EJ1T storage backplane requires a minimum of two ES1F, ES1H or EC5W (NVMe U.2 drive) with EJ1S, EJ1T or EJ1U backplanes. A maximum of two ES1F, ES1H or EC5W for each EJ1S or EJ1T. A maximum of four ES1F, ES1H or EC5W for each EJ1U (except on 4-core P05 platform). Mixing of ES1F, ES1H and EC5W is allowed in pairs. The EJ1T supports the following NVMe SSD or Flash Adapters:

  • 59B8 Enterprise 1.6 TB SSD PCIe4 NVMe U.2 module 01LU967 59B8 ES1F ES1E
  • 59B9 Enterprise 3.2 TB SSD PCIe4 NVMe U.2 module 01LU968 59B9 ES1H ES1G
  • 59BA Enterprise 6.4 TB SSD PCIe4 NVMe U.2 module 01LU969 59BA EC5W EC5V

EJ1U: Gen4 Storage backplane with four front PCIe NVMe U.2 drive slots

The EJ1U storage backplane requires a minimum of two ES1F, ES1H or EC5W (NVMe U.2 drive) with EJ1S, EJ1T or EJ1U backplanes. A maximum of two ES1F, ES1H or EC5W for each EJ1S or EJ1T. A maximum of four ES1F, ES1H or EC5W for each EJ1U (except on 4-core P05 platform). Mixing of ES1F, ES1H and EC5W is allowed in pairs. The EJ1T supports the following NVMe SSD or Flash Adapters:

  • 59B8 Enterprise 1.6 TB SSD PCIe4 NVMe U.2 module 01LU967 59B8 ES1F ES1E
  • 59B9 Enterprise 3.2 TB SSD PCIe4 NVMe U.2 module 01LU968 59B9 ES1H ES1G
  • 59BA Enterprise 6.4 TB SSD PCIe4 NVMe U.2 module 01LU969 59BA EC5W EC5V

EJ1C: Twelve SFF-3 bays with an optional EJ1E split card for 6+6 small form factor (SFF) bays and adds a second SAS Controller.

The EJ1C is a base storage backplane that includes an integrated SAS controller (without write cache) for 2.5-inch or small form factor (SFF-3) SAS bays in the system unit. The high-performance SAS controller provides RAID 0, RAID 5, RAID 6, or RAID 10 support for either SSDs or HDDs. For split backplane configurations requiring write cache performance, use EJ1D or EJ1M as backplane. The EJ1C supports 12 SFF-3 SAS bays and one RDX bay in the system unit.

EJ1D: Eighteen SFF-3 bays/Dual IOA with Write Cache

The EJ1D is an expanded function storage backplane supporting up to 18 SFF-3 SAS bays, includes dual integrated high-performance SAS controllers with write cache. The integrated dual I/O adapters is ideal for HDDs and provides up to 1.8 GB physical write cache that uses compression to provide up to 7.2 GB cache capacity. The EJ0W is an optional feature that provides two external SAS ports to attach a EXP24S or EXP24SX I/O drawer, and a EJ0W that provides one x8 PCIe slot.

EJ1E: Twelve SFF-3 bays/RDX bays

The EJ1E modifies the EJ1C base storage backplane cabling from 12 SFF-3 bays into two sets of 6 SFF-3 bays and adds a second, high-performance SAS controller (one SAS adapter per set of six slots).

EJ1M: Twelve SFF-3 bays/RDX bay/2 EXT PT.

The EJ1M is an expanded function storage backplane supporting up to 12 SFF-3 SAS bays, includes dual integrated high-performance SAS controllers with write cache, an RDX bay and has an optional external SAS port. The integrated dual I/O adapters is ideal for HDDs and provides up to 1.8 GB physical write cache that uses compression to provide up to 7.2 GB cache capacity. The EJ0W is an optional feature that provides two external SAS ports to attach a EXP24S or EXP24SX I/O drawer, and a EJ0W that provides one x8 PCIe slot.

Q : Do NVMe SSD have read and write restrictions like IBM Power SATA SSDs?

A : Yes, but the restrictions are very different in comparison.

IBM NVMe SSDs must be ordered and used based on the read/write workload, Mainstream/Enterprise, just like traditional SSDs with eMLC technology. However, the new IBM Enterprise NVMe SSDs only have a 3 DWPD (Drive Write Per Day) rating, compared to Enterprise eMLC SSDs that have 10 DWPD. The NVMe SSD is estimated to have between 8,760 to 17,000 TB of writes before it reaches its maximum projected write capability. The write values between the two Enterprise SSD types are significantly different and must be taken into account. IBM Enterprise NVMe SSDs or Flash Adapters are ideal for intensive database and performance demanding read/write workloads.

Mainstream NVMe SSD are primarily used for Read Only environments or that will not perform more than 1 write per day (DWPD – Drive Write Per Day). Mainstream NVMe SSDs are be ideal for booting up the OS. Mainstream SSDs will typically have a lower life expectancy.

Note: IBM calculates life expectancy of NVMe SSDs based on the DWPD (Drive Writes Per Day) volume, calculated over a 5-year period for 100% (4K bytes or larger) random write workloads. The actual workload the NVMe devices endure greatly impact the maximum write capacity. If higher volumes of more sequentially oriented writes are used instead of random writes, the maximum write capacity will be larger. Writes past the SSD's maximum write capacity will continue to work for some period of time, but perform much more slowly. Whether the application uses sequential or random reads from the device does not affect the life of the device. A Predictive Failure Analysis message will indicate that it is time to replace the SSD if enabled by the operating system (OS) and system administrator. Customers are recommended to monitor SMART log critical information via the appropriate OS utility to observe drive life remaining information. IBM NVMe SSD failures will be replaced during the standard warranty and maintenance period for SSD's that have not reached the maximum number of write cycles. SSD's that reach this limit may fail to operate according to specifications and must be replaced at the client's expense. Boot supported. Data redundancy on a failed SSD may be provided by OS mirroring or software RAID wherever applicable.

Q : Are the 9009-41G processors the same as the 9009-41A processors?

A : Yes. Although IBM uses different feature codes, the 9009-41G processors are identical and report with the same CCIN as the 41A processors.

41G Processors

41A Processors

Q : Does the 9009-41G have faster memory options than the 9009-41A?

A : No. The 41G and 41A models use the same Memory features.

  • 8 GB DDR4 Memory - 324D EM60 78P4191
  • 16 GB DDR4 Memory - 324E EM62 78P4197
  • 32 GB DDR4 Memory - 324F EM63 78P4198
  • 64 GB DDR4 Memory - 325A EM64 78P4199
  • 128 GB DDR4 Memory - 324C EM65 78P4200

Q : What RAID levels do the NVMe SSD support?

A : NVM-Express flash does not use storage controllers and therefore do not support RAID.

It is recommended to use software based mirroring such as MIMIX, Quick/EDD or iTera for mirroring or replication to protect data stored on NVMe SSD flash adapters. All storage backplanes with SAS bays contain at least one SAS controller for RAID protection, supporting RAID 0, RAID 5, RAID 6, and RAID 10. They also support Easy Tier RAID 5T2, RAID 6T2, and RAID 10T2 for AIX and Linux Server environments.

Q : What IBM Power System Models Support NVMe SSDs?

A : All IBM Power9 and Power8 models support NVMe SSDs with the required OS Version Release and PTFs.

What are the NVMe SSD placement rules for the 9009-41G?

Use 8, 9, 5, 10, 7, 12, 6 for Slot Priority for the following SSD NVMe adapters:

  • 58FC PCIe3 x8 1.6 TB SSD NVMe adapter (01DH570 - EC5A, EC5B)
  • 58FD PCIe3 x8 3.2 TB SSD NVMe adapter (01LK431 - EC5C, EC5D, EC6W, EC6X)
  • 58FE PCIe3 x8 6.4 TB SSD NVMe adapter (01LK435 - EC5E, EC5F, EC6Y, EC6Z)
  • 58FC PCIe3 x8 1.6 TB SSD NVMe adapter (01DH570 - EC5A, EC5B, EC5G, EC6U, EC6V)
  • 58FD PCIe3 x8 3.2 TB SSD NVMe adapter (01LK431 - EC5C, EC5D, EC6W, EC6X)
  • 58FE PCIe3 x8 Non-Volatile Memory 6.4 TB SSD NVMe adapter (01LK435 - EC5E, EC5F, EC6Y, EC6Z)

The SSD PCIe4 NVMe U.2 modules can be installed in any U.2 15mm NVMe slot in the system unit, of which can have a maximum of 4 depending on the configuration.

Henry Rodriguez, August 20, 1965 – January 31, 202...
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