When Scott Handy, IBM's vice president worldwide marketing and strategy for System p, says he likes to evangelize, he's kidding. But although his delivery is low-key, evangelize he does. In his core message, you and I are not going to hell, but Sun Microsystems' Solaris server sales might be. After assuring us that the "p" in System p stands for "performance," Handy told us what's new with System p, including IBM's announcement this morning that x86 Red Hat and Novell Linux [the open source Unix-like operating system] applications can now run on it. What is in this for you? It's another option for server consolidation."The way Wall Street firms have been deploying servers, performance is not the brick wall they're going to hit, it's power and cooling," Handy says. "Firms are using lots of powerful servers together to achieve performance. The problem is that they're running out of power and cooling that they can bring into the building and space. So they're asking us for an infrastructure simplification strategy."
The System p server is 64 times as powerful as the standard x86 server, he says. A single rack of five 560Q model System p servers could take the place of 320 Linux x86 servers - an 80% space savings and a 66% reduction in power consumption, according to Handy. "It's technical sleight-of-hand magic, but the application itself thinks it's running on Linux on Intel or AMD, when it's really running unmodified on Linux on power. So for people who are using System p to consolidate x86 servers, this opens up the possibility of a much broader range of applications that that can be done for."
Getting better server utilization through virtualization is another piece of infrastructure simplification; across all industries, Gartner and IDC say the average server utilization rate is only 5-10%. IBM's virtualization for System p is called Advanced Power Virtualization; it works with AIX (IBM's version of the Unix operating system) and Linux systems. It provides "micropartitioning," such that 10 operating system images could reside on one processor.
Linux is alive and well on Wall Street, in fact today the fifth annual Linux/Open Source on Wall Street show is going on here at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York City. (I'll fill you in on more of the haps here as the day progresses.) "Financial services is in the top three industries for all Linux adoption," Handy says. "Last year 1.6 million Linux servers shipped, another 1.9 million will be deployed this year." Linux server sales revenue is about $7 billion per year, about a third of the size of the Windows market, and it's growing faster than the rest of the server market," he says.
Unix is doing well, too, according to Handy. "The Unix market is $18 billion a year and IBM is number one in Unix servers again," he says. "We've taken 10 points of share over the last five years with our Unix server line, we have 32% share of the total Unix market." Sun's Solaris has a third of the market, as does HP's HPUX. "Wall Street is a ferocious battleground for Unix. Somewhere approaching 100% of Wall Street firms have some form of Unix. What's been popular lately on Wall Street is replacing Solaris with Linux and blades."