The New IBM Power9: A high performance server for today's and tomorrow's IT

Posted by Francois Desjardins_ on Feb 28, 2018 7:45:00 AM
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IBM's New Power 9IBM remains on the cutting edge of innovation to meet the ever-growing needs of businesses, particularly with its Power servers (AS400).With Power 6, 7 and 8, the IT giant developed increasingly powerful systems for memory, storage and processor power.

The major innovations of the IBM Power9 generation are more than ever aligned with the business needs of companies in terms of the Cloud, artificial intelligence and BI (Business Intelligence).

POWER9 is the only processor with state-of-the-art I/O subsystem technology, including next generation NVIDIA NVLink, PCIe Gen4 and OpenCAPI. These interfaces give Power9 a super bandwidth memory highway that gives you access to more accurate information, more quickly.

Increased information processing speeds: significant gains for AI and BI

The IBM Power9 is a server focused on the future, ready for applications enabled for the cloud, artificial intelligence and BI.

For companies, the major innovation is at the level of Business Intelligence. Its increased processing speed is a major business gain that allows an overview of a company's operations - orders, inventory, delivery, etc. - in real time on request.

The IBM Power9 has additional parallel processing units integrated directly into the processor, which greatly increases its power and speed of information processing. Offering up to 4 TB of memory - in a machine with only 2 sockets - millions of data and transactions are processed almost in real time.

Other features of the IBM Power9:

  • 9.5 times the maximum I/O bandwidth compared to the x86.
  • 2 times the performance of the cores compared to the x86.
  • 2.6 times more supported memory than the x86.
  • 1.8 times more bandwidth memory than the x86.
  • 2 times more bandwidth on PCIe Gen4 than PCIe Gen3.
  • NVIDIA Next Generation NVLINK for 5.6 times the bandwidth than the PCIe Gen3.
  • 4 times the bandwidth for GPU/OpenCAPI Acceleration versus Power8 with OpenCAPI and NVLINK 2.0.
  • Simplified execution for enterprise Artificial Intelligence, supporting up to 2TB of coherent memory, direct GPU to GPU and GPU to CPU communication.

One of the innovations that explains this speed of processing is the GPU (Graphic Processor Unit) attached directly to the processor. Graphical data accesses the GPU directly, reducing the processing time by ten times.

Ultrafast processing of graphic data is also very useful in the context of artificial intelligence, where we collect more and more graphic data - think of photos, facial recognition - especially in the fields of research and governmental institutions.

The best of both worlds for traditional workloads

The real benefit for companies with traditional workloads is the drastic reduction in processing time of their usual applications. The smallest Power9 server offers 32 GB of memory. To put in context, many companies have machines aged between 5 and 10 years, with only 4 or 8 GB of memory. By switching to the smaller Power9, they would quadruple their memory. Since the applications they are using have not necessarily changed, they can continue to produce their own reports and graphs, for example, but they will be processed in much less time.

These companies keep the features of previous versions, in addition to having capabilities adapted to the new generation of IT. Therefore, their previous investment is protected because the Power9 supports old technologies like legacy software.

They now also have access to the new features offered, namely, an infrastructure designed to support future workloads adapted to the Cloud, AI and BI. Thus, when the company will be at the stage of innovation, it will be ready to analyze the accumulated data from a Business Intelligence perspective.

Ready for the cloud

With the integrated PowerVM component, the Power9 is ready and perfectly supports cloud-based solutions, such as the IBM-Watson Artificial Intelligence Platform. It can connect multiple businesses or departments on a single server and can support more users in the cloud than previous versions.

It allows the cloud infrastructure to grow more easily with the needs of the business, whether private or hybrid. With its increased power and capabilities, it requires fewer cores / processors for more users.

No additional installation required

Over the years, IBM has developed patches to fix some issues, such as vulnerabilities in Power 6, 7, and 8 processors. These fixes are built into the firmware of the Power9, so no patch installations for these vulnerabilities are necessary. It should also be noted that previous versions of the Power System will no longer be supported in the next few years. This is the case, for example, of some Power7 models as early as next year.

To retain

The new Power9 server presents a forward-looking infrastructure. It is the ideal tool for companies wanting to take advantage of Business Intelligence. Its lightning speed in information processing, its integration of old features and its innovative technologies focused on the cloud and artificial intelligence help to make it the high performance server needed in an ever-changing business environment.

 

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Topics: IT Innovation, IT infrastructure, Cloud, Big Data, IBM

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The right use of technology addresses business challenges and drives business growth in all areas of an enterprise.  We hope this blog will offer insight into developing strategies and tactics to enable you to identify those key drivers of growth and keep pace with and anticipate the rapid technology change of today.

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