IBM Makes Power8 Case for Application Workload Convergence

Mike Vizard
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Historically, transaction processing and analytics were distinct types of application workloads that had very little in common. Transaction processing applications tended to run on mainframes and Unix servers, while data warehouses were made up of racks of x86 servers. But as enterprise applications continue to evolve, Michael Gschwind, STSM and senior manager for system architecture at IBM, says we’re about to witness a powerful convergence of transaction processing and analytics workloads that will force some fundamental IT architecture decisions.

For that reason, IBM has been investing in expanding the capabilities of its Power8 processor platform. Rather than depending on general purpose processors for everything, Gschwind says the next generation of enterprise applications will combine transaction processing and analytics in ways that will enable businesses to gain actionable insights into transactions in real time. That means instead of trying to discern trends after the fact, analytics will be delivered at the moment transactions are actually processed.

Gschwind contends that most of these new classes of applications will run on distributions of Linux running on Power8 servers that will come from both IBM and other manufacturers that are part of the OpenPower Consortium. As part of an effort to extend the appeal of those platforms, IBM is now partnering with Canonical to optimize the Ubuntu distribution of Linux on IBM Power8 servers in addition to continuing to work with Red Hat and Suse, a unit of Attachmate. In a webcast that can be found here, Mark Baker, Ubuntu server and cloud product manager, goes into more detail about what Power8 means to the Linux community.

Obviously, none of this means that Power8 servers are going to replace x86 servers tomorrow. But it does mean that as transaction processing and analytics continue to converge, the nature of application workloads will dramatically change in the years ahead.

As such, enterprise IT organizations just might need to start laying the foundations today for a new class of applications that are about to change the way IT systems are actually used across the enterprise.

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