IBM claims new Power Systems blow Xeon servers away

Linux-based servers designed to tackle heavy-duty cognitive workloads

Power Systems IBM S812LC

IBM has revealed a new Power8 processor at the heart of a fresh line-up of servers which it claims will be a very powerful weapon in the battle to better cope with compute-heavy workloads.

The new Power Systems servers are Linux-based and targeted specifically at cognitive workloads, and helping data centres deal with the likes of intense tasks around deep learning, AI, and major data crunching.

There are three new systems in the Power LC line-up, and IBM notes that the fresh hardware boasts exclusive acceleration technology based on a set of interconnect innovations known as PowerAccel, developed in conjunction with partners in the OpenPower Foundation.

The Power8 chip utilises Nvidia's NVLink to directly hook up with Tesla GPUs, and apparently the tight integration of IBM and Nvidia tech means data can flow five times faster than an x86-based system.

More speed, fewer servers

The company says that over in China, Tencent's testing has shown that the IBM offerings can run a data-intensive workload no less than three times quicker than the x86-based servers previously used. And this was achieved using two-thirds less servers than before, apparently.

IBM claims that on an overall level, its new servers are capable of delivering 80% more performance for every dollar (or indeed pound) spent compared to x86-based servers.

Doug Balog, General Manager of Power, IBM Systems, commented: "The user insights and the business value you can deliver with advanced analytics, machine learning and artificial intelligence is increasingly gated by performance. Accelerated computing that can really drive big data workloads will become foundational in the cognitive era.

"Based on OpenPower innovations from partners such as Nvidia, our new OpenPower Linux servers with PowerAccel set a new standard for these workloads compared with x86 processor-based servers."

These new Power LC offerings are available now – with one exception, the IBM Power System S822LC for high-performance computing doesn't ship until September 26 – and prices online start at $5,999 (around £4,500, AU$8,000).

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