IBM hasn't exactly been forthcoming about when it will ship its 8-core Power7 servers, but in the meantime, there's still plenty of Power6 inventory to clear out. To help do that, Big Blue has implemented some pretty hefty price cuts.
According to The Register, a processor book based on 4.2GHz dual-core Power6 chips without any memory activated with all the cores turned off now costs $33,456, a savings of 32 percent. Activating each core costs $16,796, also a 32 percent savings prior to the cuts.
This is a similar approach to the one IBM took last June when it cut prices to spur sales, including memory, which saw drops range anywhere from 28 to 70 percent.
Not that Big Blue's ego needs any more stroking, but according to a new survey, IBM is trusted by consumers more than any other IT company when it comes to securing and protecting personal information and overall privacy.
"We are honored to be recognized by consumers as the most trusted business-to-business company in Ponemon Institute's survey," said Harriet Pearson, vice president, Security Counsel and Chief Privacy Officer at IBM. "As data rapidly moves from the desktop to the cloud, consumers are more aware and concerned than ever about the security and privacy of their personal and sensitive information. IBMers worldwide are committed to delivering trusted and secure technologies, services and solutions that protect the privacy of our clients' most valuable and critical assets and operations.
On a related note, the study reported that 41 percent of consumers feel they have control over their personal information, which is down from 45 percent last year, and 56 percent from 2006. Identity theft ranked as the top concern and a major factor in brand trust diminishment, while half of those surveyed said notice of a data breach was a big factor.
In the highly competitive enterprise storage sector, IBM this week had reason to celebrate, saying it achieved the highest growth among the top three storage vendors.
According to a market share report by IDC, IBM's external disk storage systems revenue grew by 9 percent year-over-year during the fourth quarter of 2009, putting the company's growth rate well ahead of the competition. By contrast, EMC stayed relatively flat with a 0.7 percent decline, while Hewlett Packard's revenue took a backwards slide to the tune of 7.3 percent during the same quarter.
Big Blue also noted gains in the Windows and Linux OS segments in 2009, boasting a 24 percent increase in Linux storage. What makes this particularly noteworthy is that the overall Linux storage market was down 4 percent.
Most would probably agree that the patent system in the U.S. is busted and could use an overhaul. What's surprising, however, is that IBM would push for change, yet that's actually what Big Blue is doing.
IBM, which for the 17th consecutive year earned the most U.S. patents of any company with 4,914 and holds more than 30,000 altogether, said it is endorsing the compromise on U.S. patent reform legislation announced by Senate leaders.
"The leadership of Senators Leahy, Sessions and others has forged a compromise bill that works for all members of the intellectual property community and represents real progress on patent reform," said Robert Weber, senior vice president, Legal and Regulatory Affairs and General Counsel, IBM. "Modernizing the patent system, as outlined in this bill, will protect inventors and promote innovation."
According to IBM, the first significant update to the nation's patent laws in more than 50 years would bolster American competitiveness in the global economy and help stimulate innovation. We agree, we just didn't expect to hear it from IBM.
The tough times continue for those employed in the tech industry, and Big Blue in particular. According to the Alliance@IBM/CWA Local 1701, IBM has issued about 400 layoff notices.
Lee Conrad, national coordinator of the Alliance, believes this is the just the first wave of more layoffs to come, though he didn't say how many he believes will get the axe. Neither did IBM, who rarely does, saying only that this is a result of a remixing of "our skills and structure to meet the changing needs of our clients."
IBM employs about 400,000 workers around the world. According to Conrad, the latest cuts are the result of a shift to offshore work. Big Blue employees around 105,000 U.S. workers, compared to 115,000 one year ago.
Are you worried Fermi is going to make your GeForce 8800 look a bit long in the tooth? Well just be glad you're not stuck trying to run Crysis on the Secret Service's mainframe featuring state of the art technology from the 1980's. A classified review of the aging computer system has revealed that the system is now only operational about 60 percent of the time, and frequently prevents them from accessing the master database of mission critical information and apps.
"We have here a premiere law enforcement organization in our country which is responsible for the security of the president and the vice president and other officials of our government, and they have to have better IT than they have," said Lieberman, who is chairman of the Senate Homeland Security and Government Affairs Committee. Currently the NSA runs 42 mission-oriented applications on a 1980s IBM mainframe, and are hideously underpowered based on the agencies current requirements.
The price tag for updating the system is a mere $187 million, and far below the $33 million they currently have in the budget. If I were president, I would probably check the seat cushions on Air Force One to make up the difference, they are charged with saving his life after all.
Here's a fun fact - since 2003, the IBM Software Group has made over 50 acquisitions, which so far works out to about 7 per year. The latest of those was announced on Tuesday when IBM said it had scooped up Intelliden Inc., a privately held firm specializing in intelligent network automation software.
"Networks have become a critical part of the overall IT fabric, and organizations are demanding tighter integration and management of the entire infrastructure including applications, storage, servers and networks," said Alan Black, president and CEO of Intelliden. "Intelliden provides leading open, scalable and comprehensive network automation solutions, and this acquisition opens a world of new opportunities for our customers, partners and employees."
According to IBM, some 60 percent of network outages are caused by manual configuration errors. The company hopes its latest acquisition will help its customers avoid becoming one of those statistics, as well as improve staff efficiency.
IBM plans to integrate Intelliden's technology into its Tivoli Software.
IBM last week said it would begin collaborating with industry leaders and universities scattered throughout the European Union to improve several facets of modern chip design, including the productivity and reliability of semiconductor and electronic systems.
"Designing a microelectronic chip is very expensive and the design costs are the greatest threat to continuation of the semiconductor industry's phenomenal growth," noted Dr. Jaan Raik, senior researcher at Tallinna Tehnikaulikool and coordinator of the DIAMOND project. "The increasing gap between the complexity of new systems and the productivity of system design methods can only be mitigated by developing new and more competent design methods and tools."
The goal of the new integrated approach is to localize and stomp out bugs on all abstraction levels. IBM points out that about 70 percent of today's design efforts are placed on verification and debugging, while soft errors -- like transient errors caused by cosmic radiation -- ranks as a rapidly growing threat.
The DIAMOND consortium will use a holistic approach to develop new tools and methods to help track all of these errors.
The Power7 processor is for server use. It has 1.2 billion transistors, and up to eight cores. Each core can run up to four threads simultaneously, allowing 32 parallel tasks. Each chip comes with 8GB of embedded DRAM per core, which eliminates the need for a separate L3 cache chip. Throughput is four times great than that of the Power6 chip. And, each system can be divided into as many as 1,000 virtual systems running multiple operating systems. (Sorry, Windows is not one of those operating systems.)
As you’d expect, this type of power doesn’t come cheap. An entry level Power 750 Express system costs in the neighborhood of $34,000. No word on what the top-of-the-line Power 780 system costs, but with eight 4.1GHz quad-core units, 2TB of DDR3 RAM, and 24 SSDs, it's pricing won't be for the faint-of-heart.
IBM earlier this week lifted the wraps on its new Power7 systems designed for a range of applications, including smart electrical grids and real-time analytics for financial institutions, the company said.
The Power7-based servers have been optimized to chew through huge workloads of simultaneous transactions, data handling, analysis, and other related tasks. And according to IBM, customers can expect "dramatic improvements" in the price-to-performance ratios, as well as energy savings and server virtualization. More specifically, IBM claims its new systems can deliver four times the performance and four times the virtualization capability as its predecessor for the same price.
There are four new systems in all, including the IBM Power 750 Express for mid-market clients, IBM Power 755 with 32 Power7 cores, IBM Power 770 modular enterprise system with up to 64 Powe7 cores, and the IBM Power 780, "a new category of scalable, high-end servers, featuring an advanced modular design with up to 64 Power7 cores."