IBM i customers upgrading to a new IBM Power9 scale-out system from an older Power system have three models to compare specifications; the 9009-41A S914, 9009-42A S924 or 9009-22A S922. Before jumping to any conclusions about which Power9 system is right for you, consider the specifications and resources of your current IBM i and performance during peak times. The new Power9 systems are so powerful, many companies are finding they can drop a software tier without any question. Dropping an IBM P-Group in itself is a significant cost savings, and the total cost of ownership price tag adds up after factoring in third-party, IBM software licenses, maintenance and support fees. First step to a Power9 upgrade and comparison, is knowing your current Power system’s capabilities and identifying the amount of system resources (CPW, Memory, HDD/SSD and I/O 'RAID Controller' requirements) needed for peak workloads. Contact us if you need any assistance getting the performance information off your IBM i. Once you have a baseline for current performance requirements and a grasp on your growth rates, we can then determine your Power9 System Upgrade options.
All Power9 systems include a 3 year 9X5 warranty, with an option to upgrade to 24X7. The base Power9 warranty will contribute to the cost savings by comparing the estimated life expectancy of the Power9 to your current maintenance and support costs. Companies will vary in the number of years for this life cycle calculation, but most companies anticipate 3-5 years for a new Power system.
All Power9 system models support PCIe Gen 4 and earlier PCIe generation feature cards. If I/O performance, response times and throughput are contributing factors for upgrading your IBM i, you should purchase new RAID Controllers and other SAS adapters, as the newer generation PCIe adapters provide significant performance gains. The Power9 systems all support 220V power, and the 9009-41A S914 can run on 110V. The Power9 models have three backplane options, a 12 SFF-3 Bays, a 18 SFF-3 bays with write cache or a 12 SFF-3 bays with dual IOA and write cache. IBM i workloads require 4k byte block hard disk drives or SSD. If you need to boot more than one Virtual IO server from internal disks, your Power9 system needs to the split backplane feature and a minimum of four disks (two per Virtual IO Server). With the exception of the one Power9 in the P05 software tier, all other processor models support adding 28 EXP24SX I/O expansion drawers and the EMX0 PCIe adapter drawers (28 is the maximum combined quantity).
IBM Power9 S914 Model 9009-41A
The 9009-41A is a single socket, 4U system that can be configured with 4, 6 and 8-cores that have a 2.3 to 3.8 GHz chip speed range. Both the 6 and 8-core processors support up to 1TB of memory via 16 DDR4 DIMM slots, but the 4-core S914 processor has a 64 GB maximum. The amount of internal and external storage is determined by various configuration factors. Other than the CPW and main storage, the primary Power9 model differences are expandability as explained below.
The 9009-41A EP10 4-Core Processor has seven PCIe Gen3 slots, however one slot is allocated to a 4-port 1 Gb Ethernet adapter, and another PCIe slot is lost if you use the expanded function backplane. The IBM S914 4-core processor model is the only Power9 system in the P05 software tier, and the only Power9 that cannot be expanded by attaching an EXP24SX I/O expansion drawer or a EMX0 PCIe adapter drawer. The EP10 4-core processor has a maximum of 10 disk drives or SSDs in the system unit (combinations are supported). The expansion limitation is a deal breaker for many customers, but a SAN can be attached for additional storage. The 9009-41A 4-Core has many cost advantages for smaller companies that do not have foreseeable growth factors that exceed its maximum capacity limits provided in the base system.
The 9009-41A EP11 6-Core and 9009-41A EP12 8-Core systems are both in the P10 software tier, have two Gen4 and six Gen3 slots (one slot is allocated to a 4-port 1 Gb Ethernet adapter).
IBM S914 9009-41A CPW by Number of Processors Activated (for IBM i OS)EP10 X4=52500 | X3=39375 | X2=26250 | 1=13125EP11 X6=78500 | X5=65417 | 4X=52333 | 3X=39250 | 2X=26166 | 1=13083EP12 X8=122500 | 7X=107188 | X6=91875 | X5=76563 | 4X=61250 | 3X=45938 | 2X=30625 | 1=15313
IBM Power9 S924 Model 9009-42A
The 9009-42A is a 2 socket, 4U system that can be configured with 8, 16, 10, 20 or 24 cores, up to 4TB of memory and are all in a P20 software tier. The S924 Power9 chip core speeds have different ranges; the 8-core is 3.8 to 4.0 GHz, 10 core is 3.5 to 3.9 GHz and the 12 core is 3.4 to 3.9 GHz. The single socket S924 processors have two Gen4 and 6 Gen3 slots, and the two socket version has five Gen4 and six Gen3 slots, however some slots are dedicated for mandatory an Ethernet adapter and attachment requirements.
IBM S924 9009-42A CPW by Number of Processors Activated (for IBM i OS)EP1E X8=145500 | 7X=127313 | X6=109125 | X5=90938 | 4X=72750 | 3X=54563 | 2X=36375 | 1=18188EP1F 10X=174500 | X9=157050 | X8=139600 | 7X=122150 | X6=104700 | X5=87250 | 4X=69800 | 3X=52350 | 2X=34900 | 1=17450EP1G 12X=370700 | 11X=338404 | 10X=306108 | X9=273812 | X8=241517 | 7X=209221 | X6=176925 | X5=144629 | 4X=112333 | 3X=80038 | 2X=47742 | 1=15446
IBM Power9 S922 Model 9009-22A
The S922 can have 1 or 2 sockets that can be configured with 4, 8, 16 (2 x 8), 10 or 20 (2 x 10) cores and up to 4TB of memory. The S922 Power9 chip core speeds for the 4 core range from 2.8 to 3.8GHz, on the 8 core range from 3.4 to 3.9 GHz and 2.9 to 3.8 GHz on the 10 core. The single socket 9009-22A can have up to 6 PCIe (2X Gen4 and 4 x Gen3) slots and the two socket models have up to 9 slots (5X Gen4 and 4X G3slots). One slot is used by a mandatory Ethernet adapter. Depending on what is attached, up to three of those slots may be reserved for other purposes. IBM i is only supported on the 6 cores and 8 core processors and is limited to 4 cores of IBM i with a software tier of P10.
IBM S922 9009-22A CPW by Number of Processors Activated (for IBM i OS)EP16 X8=68,000 | 7X=60,714 | X6=53,429 | X5=46,143 | 4X=38,857 | 3X=31,571 | 2X=24,286 | 1=17,000EP18 10X=60,000 | X9=55,000 | X8=50,000 | 7X=45,000 | X6=40,000 | X5=35,000 | 4X=30,000 | 3X=25,000| 2X=20,000 | 1=15,000EP19 X2 16X=272,000 | 15X=255,000 | 14X=238,000 | 13X=221,000 | 12X=204,000 | 11X=187,000 | 10X=170,000 |X9=153,000 | X8=136,000 | 7X=119,000 | X6=102,000 | X5=85,000 | 4X=68,000 | 3X=51,000 | 2X=34,000 | 1=17,000
IBM Power9 Memory is available in 8GB (324D), 16GB (324E), 32GB (324F), 64GB (325A) and 128GB (324C) increments for 32 DDR4 slots, providing a maximum of 4TB main storage for two processor sockets systems, and 2TB for single processor socket systems using 16 memory slots. The IBM 9009-41A Model S914 is the only system that is limited to only 1TB of main storage.
Power9 Storage and Expansion Options
Although most companies will not attach a SAN to their IBM i, it is supported. The EXP24SX SAS Storage Enclosure (ESLS feature code) has twenty-four 2.5-inch SFF-2 SAS bays for HDDs or SSDs, and a total of 28 can be attached to any Power9 model, except for the 9009-41A EP10 4-Core Processor model. The EXP24SX requires a EJ14 PCIe3 12 GB Cache RAID Plus SAS or one of the 6 GB PCIe3 RAID SAS Adapters (EJ0J, EJ0M, EL3B, or EL59).
- Although both 4k and 5XX byte sector HDD and SSD are supported on Power9 systems, they cannot be mixed in the same array.
- PowerVM Enterprise Edition is provided free of charge on all Power9 systems, and if your upgrading from a Power7 or Power8, IBM provides a 60-day activation at no charge for data migrations.
- If your Power9 will be operating PowerVM want concurrent firmware maintenance, you will need a HMC or Virtual HMC (vHMC). You will need a 7063-CR1 or later (with code 8.8.7 or higher), or a vHMC. For a vHMC, the x86 Power based server will need 4 cores, at least 8GB memory and 500GB of disk space.
- Power9 systems do not include an internal DVD drive, but an external USB DVD can be purchased separately.
- Power9 systems all have the security patches for Meltdown and Spectre installed and enabled.