IBM Extends Power Server Lineup with Help from NVIDIA

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    One of the first fruits of the expanding number of partnerships that IBM is driving via the recently formed OpenPOWER alliance was born today as part of a significant expansion of the IBM Power Series server lineup.

    Leveraging GPU accelerator processors from NVIDIA that now run on the same motherboard as IBM Power8 processors, IBM today unveiled IBM Power S824L servers that it says provide nearly 20 percent better price and performance than comparable machines based on Intel Xeon processors.

    In addition, IBM today is extending the line of Power Enterprise Systems it introduced last spring. Capable of running AIX, IBM i, or multiple distributions of the Linux operating system, the new Power E870 and Power E880 Systems feature 192 processor cores capable of supporting 1,500 threads of compute power. Based on the choice of 32 or 48 cores per node, the Power E880 can also be configured with up to128 cores to provide 1,028 threads of compute power. Both configurations are available with up to 16TB of memory.

    Ken King, general manager for OpenPOWER Alliances for IBM, says a key part of the IBM Power strategy is the recent addition of support for Little Endian byte ordering, which makes it much easier to port applications running on Intel x86 processors to IBM Power server platforms. IBM is also creating what it describes as Power Enterprise Pools, which allow customers to dynamically scale compute resources across a pool of systems.

    Finally, IBM also introduced two new appliances. An IBM Data Engine for Analytics – Power Systems Edition appliance combines Power8 systems with IBM’s flash-based Elastic Storage technology and high-performance computing (HPC) software from the IBM’s Platform Computing unit. An IBM Data Engine for NoSQL appliance combines Power System S822L servers with IBM FlashSystem 840, Ubuntu Linux and Redis Software. Configured with 40TB of Flash memory, IBM says this appliance can be used to replace 24 separate Intel servers with one POWER8 server.

    King says the IBM Power servers configured with NVIDIA accelerators are the first example of a Power platform that is now much more extensible thanks to a processor architecture that over time will allow Power processers to be even more tightly coupled to other types of processors using a Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI). That capability will prove to be especially critical as more types of application workloads begin to converge on multicore processors.

    In the meantime, King says that starting in 2015, IT organizations should expect to see all kinds of new classes of servers from members of the OpenPower Alliance.

    Mike Vizard
    Mike Vizard
    Michael Vizard is a seasoned IT journalist, with nearly 30 years of experience writing and editing about enterprise IT issues. He is a contributor to publications including Programmableweb, IT Business Edge, CIOinsight and UBM Tech. He formerly was editorial director for Ziff-Davis Enterprise, where he launched the company’s custom content division, and has also served as editor in chief for CRN and InfoWorld. He also has held editorial positions at PC Week, Computerworld and Digital Review.

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