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Archive for February 2014

IBM Philippnes Launches X6 Servers

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I was invited to attend the small group media briefing of IBM Philippines to announce their new architecture iteration to the X5 and X3950. Representing IBM was Owen Cammayo, External Relations Leader, Ricky Lopez, Country Manager for System x, and Rajesh Viliyakath, Brand Manager of System x in the ASEAN region.

System x has been the architecture brand of the IBM enterprise-grade servers since the popularity of Intel’s 8086 began with the very first IBM PC, moving up to the XT with the 80286 and eventually iterating from the 80386 till today. Of course, IBM moved out of the desktop PC market, out of the PC-oriented operating system OS2, and selling its ThinkPad laptop brand to Lenovo. The mainframes business stayed, what was the origins of the company when Thomas Watson began the company, and their move into the mid-range market introducing the AS-400 series decades ago. Since then, IBM has focused on the server market, mostly in the mid-range levels or medium to large enterprises.

Okay. Let me stop here. I’m a geek by first chance of work, having spent my first eight years of corporate work as a computer programmer when dBase, Foxpro and Turbo C++ and Pascal were the mainstream programming languages. Eventually, I moved to direct selling, then a quick year to media publishing, into telecoms and ISPs, through the call center business and today into social media. That spaghetti career has actually allowed me to experience every nook and cranny of running most types of businesses to create, and to quote my mom, “a well rounded Christian gentleman.” But going back…

The X6 is suppose to be a faster machine built primarily for reducing cost and increasing productivity in today’s cloud oriented IT space. Ahh, the cloud, that familiar word with a thousand versions of descriptions. Suffice to the day, IBM’s iteration to the X6 is built for a cloud environment that utilizes so much virtualization and occupies very, very big data. For the gnome engineers, it’s godsent; for the people living in the executive suites, more data means better information.

Here’s the nosebleed PR of X6 with three words that IBM describes it’s new server architecture: it’s FAST, it’s AGILE and it’s RESILIENT.

  • FAST means it is integrated with eXFlash memory-channel storage which is a DIMM-based storage system capable of 12.8 terabyts of ultrafast flash storage. This means increasing the performance of basic read-write requests in most software solutions;
  • AGILE means it’s modular, scalable and upgrade-friendly. Imagine starting your data center with one or a few X6 systems. When Intel iterates to a new CPU, does that mean trashing your old X6 system? IBM has developed a new way of efficiently upgrading and scaling up regardless of technology developments. Rajesh called it xBook (I hope I’m right in spelling that).
  • RESILIENT means all the current and future features of X6 systems can now provide enterprises with a much better delivery method especially in the age of the cloud environment. Faster implementation models, better performance in virtualized environments, and autonomous self-healing processor and memory systems.

Rajesh showed a few slides showing the different operating systems, virtualization solutions and data management systems that has been tested and benchmarked using the new X6 architecture. I’m all for that given big data is becoming bigger and more complex as the real world continues to build the virtual world today. One of our media colleagues touched on the data center plans of IBM in the Philippines (they are investing $1.6 billion to build regional data centers across the globe; I know the China data center is the biggest). The reps of IBM had no asnwer to that. One question in particular is the end-of-life for the X5 which Rajesh said it will happen by the end of this year.

I asked about the affordability of the X6 for small and medium enterprises (SME). Rajesh said if there is a need to go 1,000 workstations running data crunching applications, the X6 would definitely fit the need and the budget. So, for micro and small enterprise, the X6 is overkill.

But one thing lurked my mind and when Owen asked for the last question, I voiced out my question: Has the X6 been tested and benchmarked with voice applications? Consider that the Philippines has been the “Call Center Capital of the World” since the beginning of 2011; this only means there are hundreds to thousands of medium and large enterprises out there running voice oriented call center applications using high capacity servers. Wouldn’t the X6 be a wonder to the engineers, the programmers, the finance people and the decision makers when their systems carry the three battlecry words of IBM? Fast, agile and resilient.

Rajesh asked for my business card and said he would definitely get back to me on that.

Lunch was served, from salads and fish to crema de fruta and coffe. It was a far cry from the “too many people here” type of launches of information technology companies that deter attention to the speaker or presenter, and the focus on the great benefits of a product or service to the business world. The small group media briefing was just perfect.

Good job, IBM Philippines.

Photos by @raffypekson

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