IBM Announces the First POWER8-based Servers

Posted by Mark Rabin

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4/29/14 8:50 AM

Yesterday, IBM announced the first server models based on the new POWER8 processor.  They are true game changers with chip-level optimization targeted at the demands of today’s business.  The POWER8 processors are the first chips ever designed to optimize analytics and big data.  They offer new levels of price/performance for cloud deployments.  These servers also deliver an open platform to deploy Linux from multiple vendors. At the same time, these servers provide significant performance gains for all IBM i, AIX and Linux applications.  The first five models to be announced are 2U and 4U servers with one and two processor sockets.  The larger “enterprise class” servers will be announced later in 2014.

Speaking of Linux, the open platform focus of this announcement is further supported by a new level of support for the open community.  IBM PowerKVM is a new open virtualization option for Linux Power systems built using Linux and KVM. Linux administrators will see the familiar interface for simplified virtualization management and operation.  This is an HMC-less option for Linux-only virtualized servers.  Ubuntu Linux Server is added to the previous Power server support from RedHat and SUSE.  Open Stack cloud framework integration is another example of the commitment to open computing.  The OpenPOWER Foundation has more than 25 partners (including Google, NVidia, Samsung and Micron) who will be bringing more innovation to Power technology in the coming months.

Of course, performance is key and these processors deliver the goods.  In the Oracle eBS 12.1.3 Payroll benchmark, a 12 core Power S824 ran double the per-core thruput of a 24-core Cisco UCS C240 M3 server. Half the cores for the same level of performance means lower software licensing and software maintenance costs. Java benchmark EjOPS shows the POWER8 processor per-core performance at double an Intel Ivy Bridge E5-2697 v2 and 1.75 times the thruput of an Oracle T5-2 server. 

IBM i Version 7.2 was also announced yesterday with many enhancements.  DB2 and SQL received new access controls and security enhancements.  Navigator for I has new features including a new GUI PTF interface, batch performance data investigator, System and message monitors.  Rational Developer for i Version 9.1, has been enhanced to be completely RPG Free Form capable.  Rational Developer V9.1 is the IBM developer tool set with full support for the current version of RPG including full support of RPG free form syntax.  SEU and WDS support were ended and do not provide support beyond IBM i V6.1.

As I discussed in an earlier blog, IBM i Access for Windows and IBM i Access for Linux are being placed in a “stabilized” status with no further updates.  IBM i Access Client Solutions becomes the sole “fat client” solution receiving ongoing enhancements in the IBM i Access family.  IBM i Access for the Web also received some updates in V7.2, including support of the latest Integrated Web Server.  Single sign on users using Kerberos will benefit from the ability for Telnet and FTP sessions to be enabled in one LPAR and propagate to other partitions in the server.

There is a lot of information in these announcements.  Between now and the first ship date of the new POWER8 servers on June 10, 2014, you can expect more posts here! TamGroup can also provide you with a private briefing or configuration workshop to evaluate how the new servers can fit in your environment. Simply call 415-455-5770 and dial 1 for more information.