IBM Power7 Hardware Planning Pitfalls
IBM POWER7 promises to be one of the most robust, flexible and efficient technologies offered by IBM to the enterprise to date. If your organization is thinking about making the move from a previous IBM Power Systems configuration to POWER7, there are some specific things you’ll want to watch out for in order to keep things moving along the way that they should.
As it stands today, any upgrade for your Power Systems that intend to preserve the same serial number when going to POWER7 will have to come from a POWER6 server. What this means is that, if you’re on POWER5 or older technology, you’ll have to add the interim step of upgrading to POWER6 prior to upgrading to Power7, if you intend to be able to keep your serial number.
I/O Drawer Support
POWER7 systems will be able to support the current POWER6 system 12X I/O drawers. Older drawers, such as the slower RIO/HSL-attached I/O drawers, won’t be supported on POWER7. What that means for you is that you should consider replacing your old slower RIO/HSL-attached I/O drawers with drawers featuring newer technology.
SCSI Disk Drive Support
When POWER6 was released, IBM announced that this would be the final line of servers to support SCSI drives at 36GM or smaller. In addition, it was the last to support 10k rpm SCSI drives. If you still have smaller SCSI drives or slower SCSI drives, you’ll want to consider replacing them with newer, supported drives prior to your POWER7 adoption.
As with SCSI, POWER6 was the last IBM series to support usage of Quarter Inch Cartridge (QIC) tape (also known as SLR) drives. Here again, if you want to go POWER7 you’re going to need to move to newer media, drives or technology prior to your upgrade.
POWER6 also signals the end of the line to support the IBM I IOP and IOP-based adapters. These adapters can be replaced with IOPless, also known as “Smart IOA,” options. Moving off IOPs will help make your implementation of POWER7 go much more smoothly.
Some of the problem comes with device support for IOP-based tape libraries, for example. Other problems come with the need for an IOP from SDLC or X.25 on WAN and LAN adapters. Check to see if your current hardware requires an IOP before you migrate to POWER7. If it does, that hardware will have to be replaced, as well.