IBM System x

Why I.R.I.S. ICT?

As a Premier IBM Business Partner, I.R.I.S. ICT can provide you with a first class service for all your virtualization, implementation and IT-management projects.

Supported by years of experience with the leading server-, storage- and networkproducts of todays world market, I.R.I.S. ICT has never forgotten that innovation is at least as important as knowledge and service.
That is why we have engineers that can combine their huge amount of experience with a great knowledge of today's latest products and technologies, and not only when it comes to hardware.

This is why you can be sure that you have reached tomorrow earlier than your competitors.

-I.R.I.S. ICT, your ICT-partner.


What is IBM System x?

System x is a standard.

The IBM System x servers are based on Intel and AMD processors and chipsets and designed to be a highly flexible solution for small and medium sized business. System x runs Windows as well as Linux and is the perfect platform for all your virtualization projects with e.g. VMware ESX(i). You can use the System x platform for allmost any task in your small or medium sized corporation, from running a DHCP server over a print server to a database server.

System x is available in rack or as BladeCenter.


Why System x?

Gone are the days when IT personell could throw a bunch of cheap servers in a room and call it a data center. In today's data center, careful planning must be undertaken to validate its ability to provide the necessary energy to servers, to cool them and to grow over time without running out of room or overtaxing the data center's energy and thermal envelope. It also requires a dynamic infrastructure - one that's able to react intelligently and effetively to change, is secure, is cost-efficient and is green.

This is what we call a dynamic environment.

System x has been in the run for a long time - since 1997, to be precise. In that timespan a lot of changes have had been place, except one thing: the premise about the x-architecture.

"We take the best of industry-standard technologies and combine them with IBM innovations to provide the greatest possible flexibility in System x."


This is why IBM systems designed with the x-architecture run faster, generate less heat, use less energy, are more reliable, easier to manage and better for virtualization than competitive servers.


What form factors are available?

Today, the line between scale-up and scale-out servers has blurred. Multi-core processors allow all servers to run scale-up workloads to some extent. At the same time, scale-up servers can run multiple virtualized scale-out workloads. Sure, we all want to reduce costs and Go Green, but we still need top performance, because getting the job done quicker is one way to cut expenses.

Therefore, performance is less about processor frequency than it is about better utilization of all aspects of the system. We want to use every bit of that expensive processor and all of the memory we paid for. Performance is now all about utilization through virtualization, which is crucial to unlocking the value of multicore processors. It’s an intelligent sharing of computing, storage or information resources across different disciplines and departments in your
organization. System resources are gathered into one pool, and can be allocated dynamically as needed, allowing servers and storage resources to be utilized more efficiently.


Rack Servers

Simply put, our philosophy regarding rack-based servers is “innovation comes standard.” We’re delivering next-generation technology today that the competition can’t match. Some server vendors view uni and 2-socket servers as commodities, using off-the-shelf components to produce cookie-cutter servers with no added value. Instead, IBM X-Architecture system design begins with standard parts and adds practical innovation to create something better: outstanding quad-core and six-core performance, high availability, scalability, energy efficiency, and proactive manageability.

BladeCenter Chassis

Unlike the competition, IBM doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all mentality. For the ultimate in flexibility, IBM offers five different blade chassis:

  • BladeCenter S (with integrated mass storage, 110V power, and officefriendly acoustics) for small and medium businesses or departmental needs.
  • BladeCenter E for typical data center requirements.
  • BladeCenter H for higher-performance needs, supporting 10Gb fabrics.
  • For telecom environment, we offer BladeCenter T, a ruggedized NEBS 3/ETSI-certified platform, and BladeCenter HT, a higher-performance version supporting 10Gb fabrics.
iDataPlex Solution (high-performance computing)

IBM designed the System x iDataPlex solution to address the needs power, cooling, and high density needs of large data centers. It takes standard rack server design and stands it on its ear. Combining the best features of rack and blade servers, and adding a few new twists, we managed to design racks with more than double the compute density of standard racks (up to 102U of servers, storage, and switches) and up to five times the compute density of the data center, while using less power and producing less waste heat.

The iDataPlex solution incorporates the best of both rack and blade server design, by combining 2U and 3U chassis with interchangeable server, I/O, and storage trays that can be inserted and removed quickly and easily. The same 2U Flex Chassis can contain either two 1U server nodes, one server node and one I/O tray, or one server node and one storage tray. The 3U Chassis supports one server node along with 2U of storage, for as many as a dozen drives (12GB SATA or 5.4GB SAS) and a server in only 3U. Storage options for these chassis include combinations of 3.5-inch SAS or SATA drives, 2.5-inch SAS, SATA, or solid-state drives, and a choice of hot-swap or simple-swap. There are nearly a dozen possible configurations of chassis and trays supported.

This does not even count the choice of three different server trays that can be used: the dx320, the dx340, and the dx360 M2. They offer a wide range of processor options (including two-core and four-core; standard- and low-voltage, Xeon 5200, 5400, and 5500 series), as well as memory options (registered DDR2, fully buffered DDR2, and DDR3). This versatility offers you outstanding configuration flexibility, pricing flexibility, and investment protection.

For example, if your needs change you can easily swap out trays to convert an I/O Server configuration into a Compute Server configuration or a Storage Server configuration, or vice versa, as well as upgrade from a dx320 server node to a dx360 M2 node.

In addition, by using the optional IBM Rear Door Heat eXchanger for iDataPlex, you can remove more than 100% of the heat emitted by the servers in the rack, actually helping to cool the data center. Because of this, the iDataPlex solution permits data center densities up to 5X that of data centers using conventional servers and racks. And to simplify installation, everything is ordered preconfigured and preinstalled in racks, shipped that way, and then set up for you in your data center.


I need a high-available system

High performance is important, but only when a server is up and running. With virtualization enabling consolidation of many servers onto one, reliability, availability and serviceability are more important than ever. To this end, IBM incorporates not only in a system that is from the ground designed to set-up in a cluster-environment, but also foresees in a number of innovations as standard features in most System x and all BladeCenter servers.


IBM Memory ProteXion

IBM Memory ProteXion technology works in conjunction with IBM Chipkill technology and standard ECC protection, to provide three-level memory correction.

Light Path Diagnostics

In 1998, IBM introduced light path diagnostics, a feature the competition has yet to match. Where most servers merely offer a system error LED on the front bezel, IBM offers a pop-out/drop-down diagnostic panel with an LED for each major component: processors, memory, etc. If a component fails, its diagnostic panel LED lights up. When the servicer opens the system cover, another LED beside the specific component - such as DIMM slot 12 - identifies the failed part. Servicers don’t have to waste time determining which of the 32 DIMMs needs replacement. And light path diagnostics works even when the server is unplugged.

Predictive Failure Analysis (PFA)

Extensive Predictive Failure Analysis (PFA) support provides advance warning that a component is about to fail. It illuminates the appropriate light path diagnostics indicator and optionally can send a message to the system administrator via the IBM Systems Director systems management software2. On System x enterprise servers, PFA support is enabled for processors, memory, hard disk drives, power supplies, fans, voltage regulator modules, and the XceL4v Dynamic Server Cache. By comparison, many competitive systems offer PFA only for memory, HDDs, and sometimes processors.


I need a green system

Managing energy and cooling resources has become a critical issue in the data center as energy consumption and thermal loads increase. Successfully meeting these energy and cooling challenges requires well-thought-out IT products, smart data center design, and a method for efficiently controlling and monitoring your systems’ energy and heat requirements. Taking this philosophy to heart, the IBM Cool Blue portfolio of tools demonstrates leadership thinking and sets the industry direction for optimal thermal efficiency.


IBM Rear Door Heat eXchanger

This is a water-cooled door that attaches to the back of an IBM S2 42U Enterprise Rack. It’s designed to dissipate heat exiting the back of your servers before it leaves the rack. It can remove up to 50,000 BTUs (14KVa) per hour from the data center using chilled water lines under the raised floor. Improved cooling from the heat exchanger enables you to populate individual racks more densely using the same air conditioning, while freeing up valuable floor space. (The Rear Door Heat eXchanger for iDataPlex is a double-wide version of this, removing up to 100,000 BTU.)

Calibrated Vectored Cooling

Utilized in System x and BladeCenter servers, it provides extremely efficient cooling. This enables increased density of components without overheating. Innovations include using tandem counterrotating fans (which can move more air with less energy than two standard fans can), angling fans to increase the cooling for specific components, hexagonal ventilation holes (which can be grouped closer together than round holes), and other features that promote greater airflow. Another thermal implementation, isolated zone cooling, requires only some fans in a specific “cooling zone” to switch to full speed in response to higher temperatures in that zone, rather than shifting all of them into high gear.


At high altitudes, the air is thinner and doesn’t cool as well as at lower elevations. In most servers, the fans run fast all the time to allow for use at high elevations, wasting power. The altimeter allows the IBM servers to run at lower speeds at lower altitudes. These innovations help you to save you money on energy costs, put less wear-and-tear on the fans, and produce less ambient noise in the data center.

Energy-smart power supplies

The typical power supplies used in the server industry are approximately 70-75% efficient at converting AC wall current into the DC power used inside a server. By contrast, the power supplies IBM uses in System x servers and BladeCenter chassis are significantly more efficient—up to 92% efficient in the case of x3550 M2, x3650 M2, BladeCenter H, and BladeCenter E with the new higher-efficiency power supplies. This helps save you money both on energy consumption up front and on cooling at the back end.

Low-voltage processors

Intel, AMD, and IBM offer low-voltage versions of some processors, which run at the same clock rates as their higher-voltage cousins but consume less energy. Not all server vendors offer these low-voltage processors, which costs you money in wasted energy and cooling.

Low-power memory

eX4 enterprise servers use Buffer on Board technology with DDR2 memory, which can save over 200 watts per hour over competitive systems that use Fully Buffered DIMMs. In addition, the x3550 M2, x3650 M2, HS22, and iDataPlex dx360 M2 servers all use DDR3 memory, which is 10-15% more power-efficient than even DDR2 memory.

2,5" hard drives

2,5-inch drives use approximately 40% less than 3,5-inch HDDs, saving you a considerable amount of energy. (How many HDDs does your data center contain?) They also run cooler and require less airflow, permitting greater density.

Solid-state storage

The 31.4GB solid-state drives (SSDs) offered in HS12, HS21, HS21 XM, HS22, LS22, and LS42 blade servers, as well as the x3550 M2 and x3650 M2 rack servers and the iDataPlex dx360 M2, consume only 2W of power, compared with 9-10W for 2.5-inch HDDs and up to 16W for 3.5-inch HDDs. Not only does this save even more power, but SSDs, with no moving parts, offer triple the reliability of spinning media.


I want to virtualize

Virtualization means more applications per server, which puts more demands on the system. As a result of virtualization, the focus of high-end scalable x86 systems has shifted from a hardwarecentric view to one of flexibility and cost-per-virtual-machine. Running 20 or 50 or 100 applications on the same server instead of one task per server is far more cost-effective. And it allows the applications to share a dynamically allocated pool of common system resources for improved efficiency.

IBM offers servers that are extraordinarily well suited for virtualization. For example, the x3850 M2 and the BladeCenter HS21 XM now offer selected models integrated with VMware ESXi preloaded on an internal flash drive. Similarly, the HS22 blade server offers an optional upgrade (for all models) to VMware ESXi preloaded on an internal flash drive. The integrated hypervisor operates in a diskless configuration, offers a smaller memory footprint, extremely high performance, and stronger security, making getting a system up and running in a virtualized environment faster and easier than ever before.

You can run every industry standard hypervisor on System x, including ESX(i), Redhat KVM, XenServer, Hyper-V, Oracle VM, ...

Virtualization, naturally, doesn’t involve only hardware. One tool, IBM Virtualization Manager allows you to manage physical and virtual machines from a single console. Another offering, IBM BladeCenter H and Cisco VFrame Solution, provides fabric sharing and I/O consolidation, scales to 512 servers - far more than competitive offerings - and is simple to use. It virtualizes the server, workload and network connectivity, offering policy-driven automated blade failover.


I want to know more

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