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Making a Business Case for IBM POWER8

Since 2008, corporate enterprise users have rated IBM server hardware as the most reliable platform among their peers.

With their introduction of POWER8 microprocessors in 2013, IBM put their flag in the ground as a strong challenger to the Intel x86 chip.

They also established Power Systems servers as a forward-thinking solution built for the age of the Internet of Things.  

Server data over a keyboard

Since POWER8 servers first hit the marketplace, they have continued to gain market share by virtue of their performance, adaptability, scalability, and reliability.

If you’re looking for an upgrade or a change in servers, here are 8 reasons you need to switch to IBM POWER8 servers: 

1. Linux on Power

For companies running big data and high-performance computing workloads, it’s hard to beat running Linux on Power.

Baseline performance is up to 2.5 times higher than equivalent x86 systems, providing more memory capacity and bandwidth and a larger cache size.

Additionally, Power Systems provides support for simultaneous multi-threading, with 8 threads per count, which is again higher than x86 systems. 

Power Systems runs Linux from Red Hat, SUSE, and Ubuntu. The open technology of Linux on Power allows for easier integration with other technologies.

Companies can take advantage of the flexibility and cost-effectiveness of Linux while improving service through the advanced virtualization capabilities of Power Systems. 

2. The OpenPOWER Foundation

Founded in 2013 by IBM, the OpenPOWER Foundation’s goal is to create an open ecosystem using IBM Power architecture that fosters the development of innovative solutions for big data processing and analysis.

Founding members include Google, Mellanox, Samsung, Micron, and NVIDIA. Since then, the partnership has grown to include over 175 members. 

POWER8 microprocessors are at the heart of the OpenPOWER Foundation, providing the processing capabilities necessary for the biggest names in the corporate world to drive the strategic direction of open-source, big data computing. 

3. SAP HANA on Power

Systems with IBM POWER8 allow businesses of all sizes to initiate a flexible, robust deployment for SAP HANA. SAP HANA is supported across all POWER8 servers.

With the Power Systems S824 and E870 models, though, configuration is specifically tailored to SAP HANA. 

The S824 brings 24 POWER8 processor cores to the table along with 1 TB of memory.

It’s designed primarily for the SAP Business Warehouse application, with databases up to 512 GM in compressed size.

The E870 features 40 POWER8 cores and up to 2 TB of memory, while targeting databases up to 1 TB in compressed size. 

4. IBM Watson on Power

POWER8 microprocessors are making Watson even smarter than when it was released in 2009.

Watson is the program at the forefront of cognitive computing, a self-learning system that uses data mining, pattern recognition, and language processing to mimic the functions of the human brain. 

POWER7 microprocessors are what fueled Watson’s victory over its human peers on Jeopardy!

Scarily enough, with POWER8 chips, Watson’s ability to recall and respond to information has more than doubled since its game show days. POWER8 is 2-3x faster than POWER7, with double the sustained memory bandwidth.

The speed and processing power are set to grow again with the 2017 release of POWER9 microprocessors. 

5. Cloud Computing on Power

As a secure virtualization foundation, POWER8 servers for cloud computing feature easy-to-deploy cloud solutions based on open-source standards for added flexibility.

The IBM Cloud Starter Pack also provides access to a POWER8 bare metal server for a virtual machine installed directly on the hardware. 

Among the benefits of cloud on Power Systems are the abilities to optimize IT assets based on workload, greatly reduce deployment times, and improve management by combining multiple virtual resources.

In addition, cloud on Power Systems has the capacity to scale from 1/20 of a core to 256 cores by using all the resources of the host server. 

6. OpenStack

Command line iconSpeaking of the cloud, IBM Cloud Manager with OpenStack helps organizations get up and running quickly in the cloud.

OpenStack allows for heterogeneous cloud management across IBM Power Systems, System z, and x86 environments.

It can manage PowerKVM environments directly or PowerVM environments through PowerVC. 

Instead of being locked into one system, OpenStack features easy integration of all hardware and analytic applications.

By speaking a common language, every component becomes part of a single network driven by the processing capabilities of POWER8 microprocessors. 

7. DevOps

With IBM DevOps and the speed of POWER8 chips, organizations can continually release better software and services at a faster pace.

Whether it’s mobile apps, cloud hosting, big data analytics, or social business applications, the IBM DevOps approach helps accelerate innovation without the trade-offs of increased cost, lower quality, or higher risk. 

New systems and applications created with IBM DevOps are seamlessly integrated within existing infrastructure.

Furthermore, IBM Power Systems can provide DevOps solutions from off-the-shelf components to meet the precise requirements of any custom build. 

8. Deep Learning    

IBM recently announce a collaboration with Nvidia to offer deep learning analytics to customers.

With data being analyzed through an IBM-based NVLink-embedded CPU featuring POWER8 microprocessors and a Nvidia-based GPU, data moves 2.5x faster than that between an AMD/Intel processor and a graphics chip using a PCI Express connection. 

This speed allows for the computation and analysis of deep learning, machine learning, and artificial intelligence services.

In addition, this bundle with Nvidia also provides PowerAI – a deep learning software tool.

PowerAI is easily optimized and tested on POWER8 servers and promises advanced analytic technologies to data and research scientists. 

The Soon-to-be Future of POWER9 

The speed and power of POWER8 microprocessors continue to turn heads in the IT world.

Yet, in 2017, IBM Power Systems will be getting an upgrade with POWER9 chips.

In the second half of the year, IBM will start shipping Power Servers based on POWER9 architecture.

Factoring in the relationships through the OpenPower Foundation, IBM is teasing even stronger processing capabilities to meet the ever-increasing demands of big data generation and analysis. 

Written by IBM BP Network