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IBM's pSeries 570 vs a 520 vs 550

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Old 01-03-2013
Devyn Devyn is offline
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IBM's pSeries 570 vs a 520 vs 550

Hidey Ho Folks,

Looking to buy a pServer for playing around with the IBM side of things. Looked around for a bit and notice that there is a significant price gap for the used 570's (Single Units) vs the 520's and 550's that folks are selling. Curious what to watch out for in either case? And why would a 520 and a 550 be so different in price vs the 570? Do the 570's have some dependence on the whole rack they come from? Since the 570's w/ APV come much cheeper, naturally, I'm a bit suspicious. If anyone could let me know, I would really appreciate it.

Thanks, DH
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Old 01-03-2013
dukessd dukessd is offline Forum Advisor  
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I think the 570 wants a rack with bulk power...

edit
IBM's fix central doesn't seem to include power code for the p570, so maybe not...
/edit

Last edited by dukessd; 01-03-2013 at 08:49 PM.. Reason: checked firmware site
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Old 01-03-2013
Devyn Devyn is offline
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Thanks Dukessd. Could you please provide more details on what you mean by this?

> IBM's fix central doesn't seem to include power code for the p570, so maybe not...


Had a dig into the IBM's requirements. The word 'must' in the below IBM HW requirements concerns me. However when reading the hardware requirements the impression I'm getting is that it's only for stability concerns but there is nothing to say if a particular feature (ie booting, service processor functions, booting, connectivity etc would be affected). Sole purpose for me is an R&D test box for now. Any further hints from anyone that HAS had setup such a system without one of these two below mentioned racks would be great.

[ IBM Requirements ]---------------------------
Hardware Requirements
The p5 model 570 must be installed in a new or existing 7014-T00 or T42 rack with power distribution features 9176, 9177, 9178, or 9188, or equivalent rack. This provides:
Proper dimensions
Mounting surfaces
Power distribution
Ventilation
Stability
Other functional requirements
The design of the p5 model 570 is optimized for use in an IBM 7014-T00 or T42 rack. Both the front cover and the processor flex cables occupy space on the front left side of an IBM 7014 rack that may not be available in typical non-IBM racks.
---------------------------
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Old 01-05-2013
MichaelFelt MichaelFelt is offline
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If you are looking at a single CEC model of the P570 there is not a lot of difference between the P520, P550 or P570 from a "sand-box" for "playing around"

A P520 will have 1, 2 or 4 processors depending on Model,
A P550 will have a maximum of 8 or 16 depending on Model,
and a P570 will have, I suspect, a maximum of 4 processors per CEC - at least with Power5. (A P570 could have up to 4 CECS interconnected in a frame for 16 processors and much more RAM).

Personally, with a small budget - look at P520.. If you are looking for experience with more than 4 processors - P550 is probably most economical path.

Hope this helps.

p.s. Rack units don't have to be in a rack, but stacking can become more difficult when you have more than one - regardless of manufacturer.
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Old 01-06-2013
ross.mather ross.mather is offline
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There are a few things to watch out for when you are buying a box for home.

Firstly all when you are buying any POWER server, what licenses come with it? You'll need PowerVM licences to run VIO serversand get the benefit of virtualisation. You also need to make sure that the box is the right type, and can run AIX. Older POWER boxes may be limited to i5 or Linux. With a 570 you need to know what in the box has been licencesed, as some of the CPU and Memory may be turned off and be available as capacity on demand.

Secondly, if you are running virtualisation, are you happy to run a single VIO with IVM or do you also need to factor in an HMC. With the 570 you must use an HMC! The IVM isn't an option.

If you have an HMC and a server and want to run dual VIO Servers then you need a split backplane in you server, with disks attached to both backplanes.

Ago rack versus flat, the 520 and 550 come as rack mounted as well, but so long as the servers as kept flat is a suitable space then hey should be fine. You should also check on the Power draw of the server and what draw your household electrics will support. Just had a quick look at the 570 needs 200-240 volt AC power with is what you get as output on a racks Power Distribution Unit, the 520 and 550 should support 110 and 240 volt Power.

Hope that helps,
Ross
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Old 01-08-2013
Devyn Devyn is offline
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Thanks all! Really appreciate it! This does help! Yup I would be looking for a single CEC of a 570 if at all or if I can get the same functionality for less $ with a 520 or 550 then would prefer those. (However, at this time the single CEC's of 570's come priced cheaper and so teh original question...) For PowerVM looks like I'll need at least the Standard VET to create VIO's (I recall reading the Enterprise VET will allow for LPM but I don't need that in the foreseeable future). With the Standard I can create two VIO's which is something I would want to do. Most of the hardware out there that I see comes with a POD and a VET for those listed as APV.

> Secondly, if you are running virtualisation, are you happy to run a single VIO with IVM or do you also need to factor in an HMC. With the 570 you must use an HMC! The IVM isn't an option.
I'd be looking to get an HMC shortly after if not together. I'm thinking then even for a single CEC of a 570 I'd still need the HMC?

> If you have an HMC and a server and want to run dual VIO Servers then you need a split backplane in you server, with disks attached to both backplanes.
Yes, if I have a Standard VET then would want to run two VIO's. Thanks very much for that! When you say I need disks attached to both backplanes I'm thinking 2 disks per backplane then (4 total)? (Not sure if I'm making sense.)

Read somewhere that an MOD (CUoD Memory Activation Code) might not make much sense on the 520's and 550's but I'm not 100% sure here on this. If I don't have the MOD on any of the three types, 520, 550, 570, what features would I be missing? I'm thinking I'll need all three codes but I'm not 100% sure if paying for an MOD would make any significant difference in functionality.

> 200-240 volt AC
This would be a problem. I'll have to do a bit more digging on exactly what I would need to check if my HH would allow for this.

Up to a 4-way machine would be fine so any 3 of those would do. Please let me know on the above and thanks very much again!

Thanks, DH
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Old 01-09-2013
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kah00na kah00na is offline
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Devyn, let us know what you end up getting. I have memory for Power 5 and Power 5+ boxes you could have for the cost of shipping. You don't happen to be near Kansas, do you?
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