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POWER9 in 2020: What’s Coming Ahead

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POWER9 , IBM’s latest family of scale-up servers, has been around since August 2018. Since it’s debut, they received several new members, along with other hardware upgrades. In this post, we offer a quick recap of the new IBM releases in 2019, along with the outlook for 2020.  Before we dive into the updates, here’s a quick refresher on POWER9: New chips come with a 14 nm process (from 22 nm in POWER8 ), 8 billion transistors and peak bandwidth of 192 GB/s. The pipeline got a trim: 5 stages were eliminated from fetch to compute; 8 cycles were removed for floating-point operations. New hardware acceleration that includes enhanced on-chip acceleration, PowerAXON, Nvidia NVLink 2.0 and CAPI 2.0 Support for Power ISA v3.0. DDR4 DIMMs memory and higher memory capacity per socket.  Check our head to head comparison of POWER8 vs POWER9 for more insights. Key POWER9 Upgrades and Releases in 2019 As usual, IBM made a set of new feature announcements and hardware releases during spring/autumn 2019. Below is a brief recap of those: In August, the company released a new generation of mainstream SAS 2.5- inch flash drives POWER8 and POWER9 systems that come in 931 GB, 1.86 TB, 3.72 TB, and 7.45 TB capacities*. At the same time, they shipped an upgraded processor for the POWER E980 model, consisting of a six-core Cumulus process with a base speed of 3.58 GHz and a turbo speed of 3.9 GHz. Later in October, a new generation of SSD drives for POWER8 and POWER9 models was released in 387 GB, 775 GB, and 1550 GB capacities. As well, they upgraded the POWER S924 model to support 11-core or 22-core typical 3.45 - 3.9 GHz configurations in a 19-inch rack-mount. ( Read more about IBM Solid State Drives Here) In addition, IBM published fresh performance benchmarks showcasing how POWER9 servers stack against earlier POWER8 releases. In short, newer servers can deliver up to 60% in a performance boost. Last, but not least, comes the IBM i 7.4's first Technology Refresh update since its original release. As per official notes: IBM i now...
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IBM POWER8 vs. POWER9 Comparison for 2020

IBM POWER8 vs. POWER9 Comparison for 2020
IBM POWER8 vs. POWER9 - A Comparative Analysis for 2020 Hardware upgrades – always a tough call. Should you invest in a new POWER server if your workloads are running just fine on an earlier model? Perhaps, as the new POWER9 servers received a major performance boost thanks to improved hardware, memory, and enhanced on-chip acceleration. In this post, we’ll show exactly how POWER9 compares to POWER8 in terms of memory, CPU, TCO and overall performance. Let’s dive in! POWER8 vs POWER9: Tech Specifications and Main Improvements POWER9 with comes loads of new hardware. Some are enterprise-grade, other are more focused on small to mid-range applications. The latter include Power9 models S922 , S914 , and S924 as well as Linux and SAP Hana specialized variants, the L922, L924, H922, and H924. Every new model comes equipped with robust POWER9 processors: Source: IBM Here’s a quick comparison chart further illustrating how POWER9 hardware stacks against POWER8 and POWER7: Arguably, the biggest advantage of a new POWER9 server over POWER8 is the new hardware acceleration platform consisting of the following: Enhanced on-chip acceleration – Gzip x1, 842 Compression x2, AES/SHA x2. PowerAXON – a collection of high-speed I/O interconnects operating at a signaling rate of 25 GT/s. The AXON stands for A-bus, X-bus, OpenCAPI, and NVLink. Nvidia NVLink 2.0 – the upgraded lane can communicate at 25Gbps in the first iteration. CAPI 2.0 – can help achieve four times the bandwidth of POWER8 in combination with PCIe Gen 4. Secondly, IBM gave POWER9 pipeline a trim and reduced it to 12-stages: 5 stages were removed from fetch to compute, and from fixed-point operations. IBM eliminated instruction grouping at dispatch. Hazard avoidance and reduced hazard disruption received an upgrade. So what do all of these hardware upgrades mean in terms of performance and stability? Here are a few quick TLDs before we dive into the specs: Compared to POWER8, POWER9 has 1.5x better performance and 2x more memory. POWER9 comes with 1.8x more memory bandwidth per socket and up to 57% lower solution cost. In general, IBM state-of-the-art servers are 18x times more reliable than...
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IBM i 7.4 (V7R4) Details: Everything you need to know

IBM i 7.4 (V7R4) Details: Everything you need to know
IBM i V7R4 (7.4) OS400 enhancements and additions improve Power9 and Power8 system and DB2 database performance, security and availability. Details of OS400 V7R4 features and specifications for IBM i Power Systems are explained below in detail, and arranged by the following topics: Security, System Management, Networking, Availability, Application development, Miscellaneous features. IBM i V7R4 (7.1) release date is June 21, 2019.  OS400 V7R4 is supported on IBM Power9 and Power8 processor systems, and is not supported on earlier IBM Power system processor generations. All IBM i customers should read the IBM 7.4 memo  before upgrading to ensure compatibility and verify if discontinued support of any software, hardware products or features affects your system. IBM V7R4 hardware enhancement details can be read about here. IBM i Security IBM i Authority Collection A significant advancement for IBM i security is the new Authority Collection service feature, capable of analyzing object authorities of users and applications to ensure only the minimum required authorities are granted to run applications. By securing objects in an application with minimum authority required, security administrators can now safely remove unnecessary user authorities to objects used by an application. Most IBM i applications have excessive authorities granted to objects within the application. For instance, when an application gives *PUBLIC *CHANGE or *ALL authority for objects within an application, and accessing a DB2 file, when it only requires *USE authority to the data. Applications with unnecessary authorities creates security vulnerabilities by allowing users and other applications to make changes to data outside the application.    Authority Collection service captures data associated with the runtime authority checking built into IBM i security of OS400. The authority data collected is stored in a repository for displaying and analyzing the data and determine the minimum authority required to the objects the application need to run successfully. Minimum authority should be granted to objects as a best security practices require to protect against unauthorized access from outside the application.    IBM i 7.4 Authority Collection service also allows the collection of authority information for specific objects when accessed by any user, instead of for all...
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POWER9: Main changes and updates Vs POWER8 (2019)

POWER9: Main changes and updates Vs POWER8 (2019)
A newer Article is now available to read: IBM POWER8 vs. POWER9 - A Comparative Analysis for 2020 POWER9 is here , and with it comes loads of new hardware. With the second batch of released hardware there are several new systems that are focused on small and mid-range applications. These include Power9 models  S922 , S914 , and S924 as well as...
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How to Accelerate the Use of AI in Organizations with Power9 Systems

How to Accelerate the Use of AI in Organizations with Power9 Systems
Written by: Bob Picciano Open any business publication or digital journal today, and you will read about the promise of AI, known as artificial or augmented intelligence, and how it will transform your business. The fact is, AI will not only transform your entire business, whether you are in health care, finance, retail or manufacturing, but it will also transform technology itself. The essential task of information technology (IT), and how we measure its value, has reached an inflection point. It’s no longer just about process automation and codifying business logic. Instead, insight is the new currency, and the speed with which we can scale that insight and the knowledge it brings is the basis for value creation and the key to competitive advantage.   IBM Engineer, Stefanie Chiras, with the IBM Power System AC922. (Photo: Jack Plunkett).   This trend is fueling a surging interest in deep learning and AI, or, as IBM calls it, cognitive computing. According to IDC , global spending on AI-related hardware and software is expected to exceed $57.6 billion in 2021, almost a five-fold increase over the $12 billion that will be spent this year. The real promise of AI is to unleash actionable insights that would otherwise be trapped in massive amounts of data. Much of that data is unstructured data, such as the data that’s generated by such things as written reports and journals, videos, social media posts or even spoken words. Since we introduced IBM Watson, and our powerful AI cloud platform, we’ve continued on our journey to reinvent computing for this new era. And we’ve learned that to meet the new demands of cognitive workloads, we need to change everything: from the algorithms and mathematics that are the foundations of the software, to the hardware that drives it and to the cloud that deploys it. Organizations that apply deep learning and AI, which are the superchargers for extracting insight, need to use the right architecture to ingest and analyze very large data sets. And you need to be able to do it at lightning-fast speeds, or faster than your competitors. IBM...
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The Big Difference Between Power9's Industry Standard Memory vs Buffered Memory

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POWER9 Memory changes and what it means. Our last article was about the primary changes made to the POWER Systems, scale out line up with the release of the first set of POWER9  (You can view some of the POWER9 benchmarks here ) servers back in February. We briefly covered several of the changes including the change made to the type ...
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