Next Generation of IBM Power Servers

IBM is not relenting on its push into hybrid clouds. Its success to date has been encouraging, but now it is going further. The company is throwing a new line of servers, the Power10 Processor, which they say is designed specifically for hybrid cloud environments.

IBM E1080, Power10 processor

The new IBM Power E1080 server, the first in a new family of servers based on the IBM Power10 processor, was designed specifically for hybrid cloud environments. The company adds: IBM Power10-equipped E1080 server is engineered to be one of the most secured server platforms and is designed to help companies operate a secured, frictionless hybrid cloud experience. 

It apparently was intended to offer a platform to meet what IBM perceived as the unique needs of enterprise hybrid cloud computing. Specifically  the POWER10 processor focuses on energy efficiency and performance in a 7nm form factor with an expected improvement of up to 3x greater processor energy efficiency, workload capacity, and container density than the previous IBM POWER9 processor.

To IBM, the POWER10 processor is an important evolution in IBM’s roadmap for POWER. It is expected to be available in the second half of 2021, which is not very far away.

Some of the new processor innovations highlighted back in August included: the company’s first commercial 7nm processor, expected to deliver up to a 3x improvement in capacity. It also promises processor energy efficiency within the same power envelope as the POWER9 but allowing for greater performance.

It supports Multi-Petabyte Memory Clusters with a breakthrough new technology IBM calls Memory Inception, This is intended to improve cloud capacity and economics for memory-intensive workloads from ISVs like SAP, the SAS Institute, and others as well as large-model AI inference.

And there is more: new hardware-enabled security capabilities include transparent memory encryption, which is designed to support end-to-end security.  Also new processor core architectures in the IBM POWER10 processor with an embedded Matrix Math Accelerator is extrapolated to provide 10x, 15x and 20x faster AI inference for FP32, BFloat16, and INT8 calculations per socket.

There is far more packed into the Power10 processor, more than I can squeeze into one piece. But IBM points out another consideration worth keeping in mind: not all hybrid cloud models are designed equally. You might say DancingDinosaur taps the hybrid cloud because he draws on multiple cloud providers, but that is not anywhere near what the E1080 is intended to address.

Reports Dylan Boday, IBM VP of Product Management for AI and Hybrid Cloud: “When we were designing the E1080, we had to be cognizant of how the pandemic was changing not only consumer behavior, but also our customer’s behavior and needs from their IT infrastructure. The resulting E1080 is IBM’s first system designed from the silicon up for hybrid cloud environments, a system tailor-built to serve as the foundation for our vision of a dynamic and secure, frictionless hybrid cloud experience.”

By any measure, the E1080 is not a trivial machine. It offers 240 cores, 64 TB memory, 1.6 TB/sec of memory, and 576 GB/sec of IO bandwidth. Need more? The 1080 hybrid cloud capabilities include hybrid cloud-like planned industry-first with the tight metering of Red Hat software, including Red Hat OpenShift and Red Hat Enterprise Linux. It also brings 4.1x greater OpenShift containerized throughput per core vs x86. C’mon IBM, with a chip like the 1080 do you still need CPU comparisons to x86?

Klaus Fehiker, a long time Power user from Finanz Informatik is ready to board the E1080 train. “The new server addresses our demands to continue delivering our services at scale with high resiliency requirements, including new levels of security and improved energy-efficiency. We are also keen to see how the new features can accelerate our journey to cloud and the infusion of AI into our business applications.”

The IBM Power E1080 server helps deliver on the customer demand for a frictionless hybrid cloud experience, with architectural consistency across the entire hybrid cloud estate to simplify management, At the same time it can seamlessly scale applications to meet the dynamic needs of today’s world.

There is no doubt that the 1080 processor is an incredible achievement in almost any dimension you want to look at. After spending my entire career writing about amazing technology IBM’s  E1080 is as impressive as any I covered.  

After spending over two hours painstakingly picking my way through IBM’s spec sheet for it here please don’t ask me how much it might cost you. It’s apparent IBM is putting a lot of effort into making the E1080 flexible. And there is a dazzling array of configuration options and promises of flexible pricing. You’ll just have to figure it out on your own or hope an IBM rep can.

DancingDinosaur is Alan Radding, a veteran information technology analyst, writer, and ghostwriter. Follow DancingDinosaur on Twitter, @mainframeblog. See more of his work at http://www.technologywriter.com

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