IBM announces first major update to Power9 servers in three years

Upgrades to IBM i OS include new password encryption

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IBM will launch the first major update to its i operating system for Power CPU-based servers in three years. The enhancements are largely hardware-oriented, supporting both the older Power9 and the newer Power10, which has been available since last September.

IBM's i OS 7.5, not to be confused with iOS from Apple or IOS from Cisco, will be the first upgrade since version 7.4 appeared in April 2019. Power Systems, formerly known as the mid-range system AS/400, also have the option of running IBM’s own UNIX variant, called AIX, as well as Red Hat Linux.

Power systems running i are pretty much database systems. The version of Db2 running on i is an entirely separate code base from the other Db2 for other hardware and software platforms, because IBM Db2 for IBM i is integrated with the object-storage layer of the operating system. This is unique to IBM Db2 for IBM i.

So naturally, many of the enhancements are for Db2 for i. This includes significant Boolean types and functions, JSON Boolean and XML Boolean support, a maximum index size of 16TB, performance enhancements such as improved CPU costing, and improved SMP processing, and a slew of new services.

i OS 7.5 will also feature a new password-encryption scheme and enhanced security rules, such as maximum sign-on attempts and password expiration intervals, and a more secure FTP client.

On the hardware side, the new OS improves scalability to a maximum of 48 processors per partition in SMT8 mode, but IBM says it’s can scale up to 240 processors per partition with a Lab Services engagement.

Service Tools can now display detailed information about individual NVMe devices on the system, and IBM has added support for U.2 15mm NVMe solid state disks in Power 9 and 10 servers. U.2 is basically a larger enterprise version of the M.2 that is so popular in consumer devices. U.2 has capacities of 800GB, 1.6TB, 3.2TB, or 6.4TB.

The full technical details are here. i OS 7.5 will be available on May 10.

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