IBM unveils open power systems servers to address big data challenges

IBM has unveiled the new Power Systems servers with a revolutionary open server approach and capable of delivering data insights 50 times faster than latest x86-based systems.

Based on the OpenPOWER Foundation, IBM released the technical specifications for its POWER8 processor, inviting collaborators and competitors alike to innovate on the processor and server platform.

Leveraging the POWER8-based systems together with the company’s big data and analytics software portfolio, the solutions enable organizations to put data to work in real time, IBM said.

IBM’s open approach will pave way for innovation in big data segment. The systems are built from the ground to harness big data with the new IBM POWER8 processor, which is characterized by its tiny size and 4 billion microscopic transistors and more than 11 miles of high-speed copper wiring.

SVP of IBM's Systems and Technology Group Tom Rosamilia (left) and IBM General Manager of Power Systems Doug Balog (right)

With IBM’s membership in OpenPOWER Foundation, IBM’s POWER8 processor will become a catalyst for emerging applications and an open innovation platform, said Tom Rosamilia, senior vice president, IBM Systems and Technology Group.

“This 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 that will seamlessly lead our clients into this world of massive data volumes and complexity,” Rosamilia said.

IBM’s POWER architecture is the cornerstone of innovation for the OpenPOWER Foundation, which is founded by IBM, Google, NVIDIA, Mellanox and Tyan. The group currently has 25 technology providers as its members.

Recognizing Linux as a driving force for innovation, IBM last year committed $1 billion (USD) in new Linux and other open source technologies for IBM’s Power Systems servers. In continuation with these efforts, IBM has unveiled two Linux developments that fortify rapid cloud innovation on POWER8 systems.

·         Availability of Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu OpenStack and Juju service orchestration tools, on POWER8 systems; and

·         Introduction of PowerKVM, a Power Systems-compatible version of the popular Linux-based virtualization platform KVM, on all POWER8 systems that run Linux exclusively.

The first POWER8-based systems to debut are five Power Systems S-Class servers designed for large, scale-out computing environments, IBM said.

IBM has designed these systems to operate at industry-leading levels of efficiency, guaranteeing the system will perform as warranted while at a sustained 65 percent utilization — a rate higher than common x86 utilization levels. They also claim to have twice the data throughput compared to an x86-based server.

With availability beginning June 10, the new scale-out S Class servers include two systems that run Linux exclusively – the Power Systems S812L and S822L servers. The three additional offerings, the Power Systems S814, S822 and S824 servers, provide clients the choice of running multiple operating systems including Linux, AIX and IBM i.  Available in 1 and 2 socket and 2U and 4U configurations, the starting price of the new servers is $7973 ($200/month for 36 months).

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