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IBM Targets Big Data with New Power8 Server Line
IBM Targets Big Data with New Power8 Server Line

By Barry Levine
April 24, 2014 2:14PM

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The new Power8 processor Power Systems servers from IBM are "the first truly disruptive advancement in high-end server technology in decades, with radical technology changes and the full support of an open server ecosystem [designed for] massive data volumes and complexity," said Tom Rosamilia, senior VP of IBM Systems and Technology.
 



Big data is a big deal for IBM, and Wednesday Big Blue announced new Power Systems servers to handle the load. The new products are built on an open server platform, based on the Power8 processor.

The company said the new machines are the culmination of a $2.4 billion investment, more than three years of development and the exploitation of hundreds of IBM patents. The new Power8 processor measures one square inch, houses more than 4 billion transistors and uses over 11 miles of high-speed copper wiring.

Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president of the IBM Systems and Technology Group, said in a statement that the new product line is "the first truly disruptive advancement in high-end server technology in decades, with radical technology changes and the full support of an open server ecosystem [designed for] massive data volumes and complexity."

Five Servers

The company said that its tests indicate the Power Systems can analyze data 50 times faster than the most recent x86-based systems. It also noted that some companies have reported analytics queries running more than 1,000 times faster.

Five Power Systems S-Class servers are the first based on Power8. IBM said these products reduce floor space, cut power and cooling costs and can operate at a 65 percent utilization. The five are the S812L and S822L servers that only run Linux, and the S814, S822 and S824, which can be run on Linux, AIX or IBM i. They are available in 1 and 2 socket and 2U and 4 U configurations. The starting price is $7,935, and the servers will be available June 10.

The Power architecture is being made available through the OpenPower Foundation, which was founded by IBM, Google, Nvidia, Mellanox and Tyan. The new Power Systems servers are the first to utilize OpenPower tech, and the foundation announced Thursday an "innovation roadmap" that describes the planned contributions from several member companies.

Power Systems Solutions

IBM is also announcing three solutions that utilize Power Systems servers and are designed for the needs of big data analytics. They are the IBM Solution for BLU Acceleration, IBM Solution for Analytics, and IBM Solution for Hadoop, for both structured and unstructured data.

Additionally, the company unveiled two Linux developments that support cloud computing in Power8 Systems. They are the availability of Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu OpenStack and Juju service orchestration tools on Power8 Systems, and the introduction of PowerKVM, a Power Systems-compatible version of the popular Linux-based virtualization platform KVM for all Power8 systems that run Linux exclusively.

As part of its overall support for open source, IBM committed $1 billion last year for new Linux and other open-source software for the Power Systems line. The money has been used in part to create five Power Systems Linux Centers in locations around the globe, and to launch the free-to-use Power Development Platform for the testing and porting of x86-based applications for the Power platform.
 

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