IBM drops Power7+ in high-end Unix servers


With the Power7+, IBM has also doubled the number of virtual machines customers can run on each processor core, to 10 VMs. While customers might not want that many virtual machines for production use, developers can use them for jobs like compiling code, Sharma said.

Another feature that's with the Power7+ -- the ability to put two processors in one socket -- also isn't available yet. The DCM, or Dual Chip Module, effectively increases the operations per second that customers get from each socket, with the trade-off that the cores run at lower clock speeds.

It's not being offered for the high-end Power systems machines, however. "It's partly that there is a little bit more work to do, and partly it's the class of systems where we want to use that capability," Sharma said. He wouldn't give details but implied the technology is destined for midrange or lower-end systems like the Power 740 and 750.

IBM offers a sort of "compute on demand" scheme for its Power systems, through which customers can pay to activate additional processor cores for a few weeks or months, such as during the holiday shopping season, then disable again them afterwards.

It's running a "special offer" for customers who buy a new 780 or 795 system. For each processor that ships with the server, they get 15 days of additional processing for free. So if a customer buys a Power 780 system with 16 cores enabled, they also get 15 days when they can turn on an additional 16 cores.