POWER7 PVU licensing changes (or lack thereof)

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Strongback Consulting

Last week, IBM announced the new POWER7 architecture chip. I won’t get into the details about the processor technology, but suffice it to say, its packs a punch. The real question, is how does it affect software licensing? These processors come in 4, 6, and 8 core versions, meaning that on an 8 way system, you could have as much as 64 processor cores in operation.

IBM’s software licensing is based on either authorized user, floating user, concurrent user, or processor value unit (PVU for short). The PVU scale varies based on the processor and the processor version. For example, POWER 5 is typically rated at 100 PVU’s per processor core. POWER6 bumps up to 120PVU’s per core. Surprisingly POWER7 is generously rated at no more than 120 PVU’s per core on the higher level machines, and 100 PVU’s on the lower 750/755 series. This means if you are upgrading from POWER6 to a POWER7 your software licensing costs may not change at all. If you were planning on moving from POWER5 to POWER6, you can instead bump up to POWER7 with approximately the same licensing cost difference but substantial performance gains – or reduce your licensing costs and obtain the same performance.

The entire chart on how to calculate your PVU is shown below. Keep in mind that if you have 8 cores, you could have your system partitioned via LPAR or a POWERVM, and utilize only 2 cores for example for that one virtual system.

There were a TON of other announcements last week. I’ll post those separately as time allows.
Keep an eye out for Rational Developer for POWER Systems, Rational Team Concert for POWER Systems, and the new Rational Compilers for POWER Systems.

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