ibm-built-on-power-logo.jpgTwo weeks ago, IBM’s senior executives came to New York to brief investment analysts on how Big Blue’s business is doing. While much of what was said matters little to the JD Edwards community, one executive’s brief utterance definitely caught my ear. At the end of his presentation, Bill Zeitler, Senior Vice President of the Systems and Technology Group, stated, “We’ve got the high end of the POWER6 family coming in the beginning of April.” This means that in two weeks, JD Edwards customers will have new servers to consider as platforms for their applications.

As many of you know, IBM’s POWER processors run the company’s System i and System p servers. The System i is the only server that runs JD Edwards World. The System i and System p also host a substantial number of JD Edwards EnterpriseOne installations.

This year, IBM is replacing the POWER5 and POWER5+ processors in its System i/p lineups with POWER6 chips. Two months ago, Big Blue announced POWER6 versions of the System p Model 520 and Model 550 for its AIX and Linux customers. It also unveiled a POWER6 blade server — the BladeCenter JS22 — that supports AIX, i5/OS, and Linux workloads.

Now, thanks to Zeitler’s one-sentence shot from the hip, we know that IBM is on the verge of announcing POWER6 versions of the System i Model 595 and the System p Model 595. Chances are good that the company will also trot out POWER6 versions of the System p Model 590 and Model 575. The revamped systems will easily churn out 35 to 50 percent more performance per processor than similar servers running POWER5+ chips. Moreover, they will do so while consuming as little as half the energy per processor core.

What will be interesting to see is whether IBM announces separate high-end models of the System i and p or unveils a “converged” server that unites both brands under a new name. While rumors on the street have it that a convergence could be coming, my bet is that IBM maintains the System i and System p brands…at least for now.

From what Zeitler said, we’ll know very soon whether I am right or wrong. The most likely official announcement date is Tuesday, April 1 (and no…I’m not fooling here). Keep an eye on the news wires around that time. Until then, feel free to offer your own thoughts about what IBM is up to in the comment box below.