Irving Wladawsky-Berger, new General Manager of the IBM RS/6000 Division, describes new products, features and functions at PC EXPO news conference
Irving Wladawsky-Berger, new GM of IBM RS/6000 Division
This is my first opportunity in my new capacity to talk to the press about the RS/6000 brand and how we're supporting it with some new products, functions and features, so as you can imagine I'm very happy to be here.
Now this is primarily a client event, so perhaps my first order of business is to establish my identity -- to describe my gene pool, so to speak.
IBM has a very large gene pool that it shares among all the siblings. They give us our identity and a heritage that we bring into the marketplace.
The RS/6000 has its own figurative gene pool, and depending on how they're combined, we can produce a variety of offspring.
If you look at the whole RS/6000 line there is a rich variety of products -- some big, some small, some fast and others faster still. But, like the incredible profusion of different human beings that emerge from the human gene pool, our systems are at base the same.
From our laptop to our high-performance parallel RS/6000 SP, we are a UNIX operating system, we are RISC, and we are IBM.
Our leadership implementation of the UNIX operating system -- AIX Version 4 -- gives us access to the most advanced applications in the industry, and we will continue to invest in it.
RISC contributes outstanding price/performance to our systems with PowerPC and POWER technology from our smallest to our largest systems.
And what we get from IBM are all those classic strengths that I saw develop during my years with the System/390 business -- scalability, performance, reliability, solutions to large problems, and a support structure built to sustain large systems customers -- in short, a quality product for mission critical applications.
Now our gene pool is very adaptable. You'll find RISC in many IBM systems and the IBM gene pervades all the companies products and services.
Likewise one dominant gene pervades the RS/6000 brand -- the UNIX operating system -- known to our customers as AIX.
In addition to being the most robust version of the UNIX operating system on the market, AIX is clearly the most scalable, running as it now does across all the PowerPC platforms -- including the RS/6000 and Power Series clients.
For the Power Series and RS/6000 Clients, AIX Version 4 brings a host of advantages. For one thing, it makes life much easier for developers, end-users and administrators with a leading-edge implementation of the Common Desktop Environment.
We have imbued this standard graphical user interface for the UNIX operating system with object-oriented multimedia and administrative functions accessible through the simple, intuitive "drag and drop" method. And for systems that are not pre-loaded with AIX, Turbo-Install reduces the average installation time to roughly 20 minutes.
With access to more than 10,000 applications, AIX is the right choice for RS/6000 and Power Series solutions.
What else is new?
With this latest release of AIX, we've simplified our customers' deployment of network-centric systems by integrating the Open Software Foundation's DCE Client Services.
We're also making AIX a magnet for object-oriented application development by shipping the first commecial version of CommonPoint -- Taligent's leapfrog object-oriented application system.
On top of all that, we're providing a wide range of powerful tools to help customers manage distributed systems, and a number of enhancements in security, distributed storage management, print services, and interoperability, as well as graphics accelerators, ultimedia support and integration tools.
We're pleased that we could announce AIX support of the Power Series today. It represents a major step in our strategy of providing solutions from "palmtops" to teraflops.
But our RS/6000 announcement today will appeal to customers with a variety of server needs as well -- from the workgroup to the Enterprise and from large-scale to scientific and technical computing.
Workgroup or departmental customers have basic client/server needs, like file and print serving, and many are developing more sophisticated needs for application and database serving. Lotus Notes, for example, is available on AIX Version 4 today, and with this announcement, it scales right up to the RS/6000 SP.
To these customers, the RS/6000 brand is coming more and more to mean complete solutions, systems management and superior IBM service and support. But they're interested in price/performance as well, and that's the focus of the RS/6000 model C20 we're announcing today.
The C20 broadens our low-end server line and offers excellent price/performance for multi-user application environments. It's capable of 630 transactions per minute, and comes in a desk-side, minitower package that can be expanded.
It's versatile enough to be a small departmental or LAN server, even a small enterprise server, or a server for distributed applications like retail in-store processing, distribution or other branch operations.
It gives customers broad growth potential with up to 256 MB of memory, a total of five bays for diskette drives, disk drives and media devices such as tape and CD-ROM.
It's available with four 32-bit microchannel slots, and customers with the model C10 can upgrade to the C20 by simply swapping the processor cards.
When enterprise customers have hundreds of users in a distributed environment relying heavily on database and application serving, then larger configurations are the solution.
For these customers, connectivity is essential, as are mission critical applications like intensive online transaction processing and decision support.
It's a scalable world that's heavily reliant on symmetric multiprocessing -- a world where the classic IBM system strengths of reliability, availability and manageability become even more crucial.
In this world the robust character of AIX, our decades-long experience in large systems, and the price/performance of the PowerPC make a real difference.
Today, we're scaling up the two- and four-way SMP servers that we introduced last fall, and that are so popular with customers who need to work with large databases and support transaction processing.
We're introducing six- and eight-way versions of those servers with greatly improved price/performance. In fact, The Model J30 eight-way, running DB2 FOR AIX has been clocked at 3119 transaction per minute versus 1410 transactions per minute for the four-way. That's better than all reported eight-way SMPs on the market today.
We're increasing the base configurations to include twice the memory -- 64 MB for the G30, 128 MB for the J30 and R30. Likewise, we're increasing the base configuration for the disk drive. And with all the improvements, we're holding the price the same.
So now customers can install an SMP server from IBM at new industry-leading price/performance levels and then add processors, memory and disk to scale up as their needs increase.
To our customers running the UNIX operating system, the RS/6000 SP represents large-scale computing.
It's fast, reliable, secure, and manageable. It can handle huge volumes of data, and the most numerically intensive jobs.
Customers use large-scale computing to gain business advantage either with new applications or through operational savings. And the RS/6000 SP is becoming a mainstay of the emerging world of network-centric computing where vast amounts of data have to be stored, accessed, analyzed and delivered to thousands of users in a variety of forms.
Today, we're announcing enhancements in our SP product to support our large-scale customers.
The SP has now been brought into the RS/6000 brand. It's formal name will be IBM's RISC System/6000 Scalable POWERparallel Systems. But, as with an old friend, we prefer nicknames like the RS/6000 SP.
In addition to running the new version of AIX, we've improved systems management significantly with support from IBM products like NetView for AIX, Systems Monitor and others, thus integrating the SP even further into the network environment.
In addition, we've drawn on IBM's large-scale heritage to announce system partitioning for the RS/6000 SP so a single system can run as isolated groups of processors.
In a partitioned SP, for example, one group of nodes could be testing new software while another continues its mission-critical production work. And with partitioning, an individual department in the customer's organization can now "own" dedicated computing resources.
The RS/6000 SP is making great strides in commercial accounts, but it got its start in the scientific and technical world and the scientific community remains very prominent in our plans.
For one thing, it's a very healthy, very significant opportunity, but equally important, technical computing is often an incubator of future technologies and computing techniques.
This is where some of the very early implementations of client/server computing took place, and it's where the Internet began to grow to its current proportions.
Among other things, scientific and technical customers are interested in leading-edge performance, high bandwidth memory, very fast I/O, and excellent graphics for more realistic simulations, presentations of fluid dynamics, even analyzing the nature of the universe.
Because speed means so much to these customers, today on the RS/6000 SP, IBM becomes one of the first companies to support the Message Passing Interface protocol for scientific, parallel computing.
With MPI, processors can exchange information up to three times faster than allowed by current communications protocols like TCP/IP, so now application developers can really take advantage of the SP's high-performance switch.
File processing on the SP will reach much higher speeds with the Parallel I/O File System, one of a handful of such systems available. With this software, the SP can now manage files that are bigger than 2 gigabytes, and have simultaneous access to multiple disks. In essence, the SP can now read many disks at the same time and consolidate the information later.
The Parallel Engineering and Subroutine Library for AIX with parallel mathematical subroutine libraries developed by IBM will expedite the development of parallel scientific and technical applications for the RS/6000 SP. Developers can simply call on "off the shelf" subroutines optimized and parallelized. They don't have to reinvent the wheel.
Like the human gene pool, ours can take many different forms -- from small to large, from fast to very fast, and from uniprocessor to SMP to multiple processors in parallel.
It has produced a range of RISC-based offerings unmatched in the industry, and we continue to cultivate it, because this particular gene pool is very strategic to the IBM Company's network-centric direction. Indeed, the RS/6000 and AIX are key elements in IBM's network-centric solutions and services today.
That's why our Internet announcement last week featured an Internet server and secure server for AIX, scalable across the RS/6000 family.
And later this year, we plan to have CICS and DB2 Worldwide Web gateways for AIX available, so customers can link their business applications with trading partners across the Internet.
We're convinced that the UNIX operating system is key to much of the industry's network-centric future -- a future of multimedia digital libraries, collaborative computing and electronic commerce -- a future in which users by the tens of thousands, even hundreds of thousands, will have access to enormous volumes of information, to applications and to other human beings. And AIX is by far the best implementation of the UNIX operating system.
With AIX access will be reliable, easy, and open to many different devices and platforms. And, with its scalability, AIX will be flexible enough to satisfy future customer needs -- from the smallest to the largest -- just as it does today.