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Slashdot Talks WIth IBM Power Systems GM Doug Balog (Video)

Roblimo posted about 3 months ago | from the 1-u-2-u-more-u-than-u-bargained-4 dept.

Hardware 36

Yesterday we had a story titled 'IBM Gearing Up Mega Power 8 Servers For October Launch.' In the intro Timothy wrote, '...watch for a video interview with Balog on how he's helping spend the billion dollars that IBM pledged last year on open source development.' This is that video, and in it Balog tells us how much IBM loves Linux and open source, and how they're partnering with multiple distros, recently including Ubuntu. So get ready for Power 8 servers in October. IBM is pushing them like mad -- especially in the Linux/FOSS realm. (Alternate Video Link)

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I've always wanted a sytem! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47769247)

They're so cute and cuddly, and they make great pets because they don't eat much.

Re:I've always wanted a sytem! (1)

Penguinisto (415985) | about 3 months ago | (#47769345)

heh - don't eat much? You should see the electrical and HVAC bills...

Fully loaded 2U POWER8 for $2,000 USD, yes or no? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47769277)

Can I buy a 1U or 2U fully loaded POWER8 system with AIX and have the compilers included for $2,000 USD, YES OR NO?

If the answer is anything but "yes", forget it.

Re:Fully loaded 2U POWER8 for $2,000 USD, yes or n (1)

armanox (826486) | about 3 months ago | (#47769371)

Can you buy *ANY* prebuilt, 1U or 2U system, commercial, fully loaded, for that price? I didn't think so.

Also, if you want to cheap out on compilers, GCC is a perfectly valid option on AIX.

Re:Fully loaded 2U POWER8 for $2,000 USD, yes or n (1)

kthreadd (1558445) | about 3 months ago | (#47769539)

Yep. A lot of entry-level systems start at around $500 to $1000.

Re:Fully loaded 2U POWER8 for $2,000 USD, yes or n (1)

Monkius (3888) | about 3 months ago | (#47769685)

Link?

Re:Fully loaded 2U POWER8 for $2,000 USD, yes or n (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47771205)

avadirect.com

Re:Fully loaded 2U POWER8 for $2,000 USD, yes or n (1)

bws111 (1216812) | about 3 months ago | (#47770079)

What enterprise class entry level server can you get 'fully loaded', including a supported proprietary operating system and proprietary development tools for $500 to $1000?

Re:Fully loaded 2U POWER8 for $2,000 USD, yes or n (1)

msobkow (48369) | about 3 months ago | (#47770087)

They said "fully loaded", not "entry level."

Re:Fully loaded 2U POWER8 for $2,000 USD, yes or n (1)

Wesley Felter (138342) | about 3 months ago | (#47770307)

Start at != fully loaded.

Reality check (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 3 months ago | (#47771831)

I call bullshit! I worked with a team that had this believe at a very large telecom in San Jose. They swore that their off brand servers were just as good as name brand but cheaper. Of course we had to ignore the fact that every machine came with different LOM cards, most of which didn't work at all. That itself should have been a dead giveaway, but oh no.. can't convince these guys that their cheap custom built servers are any different than an enterprise class system.

Until of course we started adding 10Gb cards and could not get images to work on most machines. Drivers would fail for unknown reasons and a bit different on every box. Then after some digging we find out that every box has a slightly different mother board, slightly different NIC cards, slightly different memory, slightly different 10Gb NIC cards, etc.. etc.. because of course they are built for price as one off systems.

Since the project was to build out a large simulation cluster the boxes had to have identical loads, so we scrapped 200,000 worth of "cheap" servers that at least a dozen people fought tooth and nail to get because they were "just as good as other enterprise systems but cheaper".

If you want to claim that your cheap stuff is "enterprise ready" I demand you prove it.

As a caveat, I don't have anything against those types of systems for special purposes. Special purposes are not "enterprise class" systems, they are custom built for a specific purpose. I am not confident, but I do hope, that you can distinguish the difference between the two.

Reality check (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47773381)

I call bullshit! I worked with a team that had this believe at a very large telecom in San Jose. They swore that their off brand servers were just as good as name brand but cheaper. Of course we had to ignore the fact that every machine came with different LOM cards, most of which didn't work at all.

And I call ignorance, pardon, "lack of experience".

That is what system engineering departments are for. Did you have a system engineering department which actually made a deal with the online shop to have the servers shipped to you configured *EXACTLY* to your specifications? Did anyone even BOTHER to write a specification on how a server's BIOS should be configured before it reaches the dock, which part numbers should be installed, what firmware revisions the hardware should be at? No? Well then, do not call bullshit if you do not know what you are doing!

Joyent, for instance, does exactly that: they run their infrastructure on generics like TYAN and Supermicro, but they employ SYSTEM ENGINEERS, which write specifications. Looky here:

https://github.com/joyent/manufacturing

What you are describing above are a bunch of hackers, amateurs, posing as "information technology professionals". If one is going to go generic servers, the prerequisite is that one KNOWS WHAT ONE IS DOING!!!

And "knowing what one is doing" involves doing SYSTEM ENGINEERING. Running on generic servers can be done and had been done, reliably and on a large scale, but one needs system engineers, not system administrators posing as system engineers.

Re:Reality check (1)

Bonzoli (932939) | about 3 months ago | (#47773583)

Actually unless you guarantee a number of sales or purchases up front(with money), the vendor almost always just orders as needed. The manufacturer will always improve the Mboards/cards/etc. So you get a,b,c version of the same numbered board. The only way to guarantee you get the same board and replacement board is to order up front all of them plus 40% so you have specific backups if one goes bad. Most likely you have to specify they all come from the same manufacturing run.
Even then you get subtle differences, as capacitors might change a bit, components the supplier uses change. Most keep the same numbers.
Writing a piece of paper that specifies these things is beyond most engineering departments as the cost of doing that is much better spent buying a machine from a company that controls the whole pipeline.

Re:Reality check (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47776639)

Capacitor fluctuation, REALLY!?!

What nonsense.

For 200,000 systems, as the poster who called bullshit states, arranging this with the supplier would be an order of magnitude cheaper.

Also, if writing such system specification is "beyond most engineering departments", then I daresay one has hired posers, fakers and liars instead of actual system engineers. That however is not surprising in the least, as a lot of liars these days claim to be "system engineers" when they are really just system administrators and nothing more. The problem is further compounded by employers who have no understanding of how different a system administrator is from a system engineer, and title system administration (level 2) or sometimes help desk (level 1) positions as "system engineer" (level 3).

To the author of the original post: next time, for 200,000 units, spend some time and money to hire yourself some system engineers, and by that I mean real engineers, not posers, fakers and liars. You will get a massive, well running installation at the fraction of the cost and be glad you did that.

Re:Fully loaded 2U POWER8 for $2,000 USD, yes or n (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47771193)

Yes I can! a blackbox 1U server made by intel, fully loaded!

Re:Fully loaded 2U POWER8 for $2,000 USD, yes or n (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about 3 months ago | (#47771491)

Also, if you want to cheap out on compilers, GCC is a perfectly valid option on AIX.

The folks at Mozilla would beg to differ unless they're stopped NOTFIXing gcc on it.

Re:Fully loaded 2U POWER8 for $2,000 USD, yes or n (1)

armanox (826486) | about 3 months ago | (#47771825)

I suppose that would be on the GCC team then, yes? I'm using it myself (v4.8). I suppose they could try LLVM, but I have no idea how viable that is on AIX.

Re:Fully loaded 2U POWER8 for $2,000 USD, yes or n (1)

MoonlessNights (3526789) | about 3 months ago | (#47772147)

Having used GCC and XLC on AIX, I can tell you that XLC is definitely the superior compiler.

The difference is less dramatic on Linux, but it is still there.

The difference between the platforms is caused by some interesting knowledge the compiler has of how the OS does some things (readable zero page being the most obvious example).

Workstations ? (1)

psergiu (67614) | about 3 months ago | (#47769285)

As the video won't play (even alt link), i want to ask:

Any plans for [somewhat] affordable Power8 workstations that can run AIX and some limited PowerVM (something like IntelliStation POWER 285 where you can have 2 LPARs)

I SURE FUCKING HOPE SO! (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47769919)

Good God, I really hope that there is a POWER8 AIX workstation, and that it's reasonably affordable. I would ABSOLUTELY LOVE to have a system like that on my desk.

Linux is good, but AIX is far more robust and powerful. AIX is UNIX Done Right. It's the kind of UNIX that doesn't fuck around. It just goddamn works, and it works really well.

I use Linux now because it's the least worst of all of the options available. But if I could get a POWER8 workstation running AIX, I'd totally consider it. AIX makes Linux feel amateurish, you know?

Re:I SURE FUCKING HOPE SO! (1)

IAN (30) | about 3 months ago | (#47773161)

AIX is UNIX Done Right. It's the kind of UNIX that doesn't fuck around. It just goddamn works, and it works really well.

Unless much has changed with AIX, this quote [anvari.org] still applies. I used to coddle some AIX servers in the 4.2-4.3 timeframe, and can vouch for the truthfulness of the quote. AIX is... strange. Though, in fairness, they did have LVM done right.

flash is horrible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47769299)

flash is nothing more than Powerpoint with a bad copy of javascript.

Re:flash is horrible (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47769341)

flash is nothing more than Powerpoint with two bad copies of javascript.

FTFY

Re:flash is horrible (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 3 months ago | (#47771853)

flash is nothing more than Powerpoint with two bad copies of javascript and a heap of vulnerabilities added.

FTFY

FT FTFY!

This foe is beyond any of you (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | about 3 months ago | (#47769307)

To the bridge of Khazad-dum!

Oh, you said BALOG...

Refreshingly 'normal' interview (3, Insightful)

schweini (607711) | about 3 months ago | (#47769363)

I just wanted to say that I was pleasantly surprised that this guy seems relatively buzzword free and seems to know his stuff. Obviously he has his corporate agenda, but I would really like more higher-ups in big companies to do interviews like this.

Re:Refreshingly 'normal' interview (1)

s.petry (762400) | about 3 months ago | (#47771845)

IBM was kind enough to invite me to the launch of the Pure systems, and it was well done also. The majority of the speakers were the engineers that designed and tested the systems, and it was very much a show for techies. Launch means sales, so of course there was some of that but it was not the majority and not the highlights.

Re:Refreshingly 'normal' interview (1)

jon3k (691256) | about 3 months ago | (#47778719)

I gotta agree. He seems relatively well informed and not full of bs. I enjoyed this.

"A Balog," muttered Gandalf. "Now I understand." (1)

sconeu (64226) | about 3 months ago | (#47769515)

It makes sense... we know that the Nazgul come from IBM, why not the Balog?

While this isn't ask slashdot, a question: (1)

Let's All Be Chinese (2654985) | about 3 months ago | (#47769723)

How about supporting open source besides fifty shades of the same thing? Like, porting one or more *BSDs to POWER 8?

There really is more to open source OSes than just "linux", you know.

Nice, but lowered support for POWER3 != good. (1)

sethstorm (512897) | about 3 months ago | (#47771339)

Wouldn't mind if they would done their part to keep the slightly older, but still-viable CHRP systems in the loop. AIX is one thing, but dropping it from Linux just seems odd.

AFAIK, it seems like the only way you can still build for POWER3 is if you build the toolchain not to be crippled or go with a fully 32-bit system.

Re: Nice, but lowered support for POWER3 != good. (1)

Funk_dat69 (215898) | about 3 months ago | (#47771559)

Dude, Power3 came out in 1998. How can you possibly complain about that?

I can't really listen (1)

gelfling (6534) | about 3 months ago | (#47771457)

Almost everything IBM says is bullshit. Sorry but it is.

transcript finally ready (1)

Roblimo (357) | about 3 months ago | (#47771587)

Better late than never, although this was *way* late...

Little Indian? (0)

Anonymous Coward | about 3 months ago | (#47772291)

Is there really a distro called like that? Or is our database just mauve [dilbert.com] , because those have more RAM?

Ugh (1)

jon3k (691256) | about 3 months ago | (#47778703)

Pet Peeve. Moore's Law doesn't say "2X the performance". Doubling the number of transistors doesn't equate to 2X the performance.
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