IBM warns POWER8 users to upgrade before it's too late

A man standing in front of a rack of servers inside a data center
(Image credit: / Gorodenkoff)

IBM (opens in new tab) has put out a Statement of Direction (opens in new tab), reminding owners of POWER8 servers about the impending closure of the component upgrade window for these popular business servers (opens in new tab).

Beginning in January 2022, IBM will stop marketing the upgrades for POWER8, before the effective date of withdrawal post which customers will not be able to order upgrades for components covered under Miscellaneous Equipment Specification (MES) such as memory (opens in new tab), adapters (opens in new tab), and internal storage.

POWER8 debuted in 2014, and IBM sold the last of the servers in 2019, having replaced them first with POWER9 (opens in new tab) in December 2017, and then POWER10 (opens in new tab) in September 2021.

According to The Register (opens in new tab), IBM operates a product lifecycle it calls "N minus 2" whereby the company supports two generations of product at any one time.

End of the line

An IBM spokesperson told The Register that the Statement of Direction is its way of “alerting clients that the component upgrade window is closing soon.”

"While we have not yet externalized a specific date that the upgrades will no longer be available, it is typically 90 days from when we announce the actual withdrawal," clarified the spokesperson.

Going by this, back of the envelope calculation suggests that POWER8 users will not be able to procure MES upgrades for their existing servers sometime around April 2022. But IBM says it reserves the right to change the 

Sure users can bank on the healthy third-party and second-hand components ecosystem for upgrades and replacements, though of course using these components would void the IBM support contract for the servers.

If you’re looking for a server, make sure you check our list of the best small business servers (opens in new tab)

Mayank Sharma

With almost two decades of writing and reporting on Linux, Mayank Sharma would like everyone to think he’s TechRadar Pro’s expert on the topic. Of course, he’s just as interested in other computing topics, particularly cybersecurity, cloud, containers, and coding.