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POWER9 in 2020: What’s Coming Ahead

POWER9 CPU

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 supports the new processor feature for 11-core or 22-core configurations of the POWER S924 server.
  • Selected PCIe3 x8 SSD NVMe adapters are now supported on POWER9.
  • IBM PowerHA® SystemMirror® for i bring new features to PowerHA portfolio.
  • You can now use RoCE for IBM i on the POWER9 S922 server.

What’s Up for POWER9 in 2020

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Source: IT Jungle.

IBM plans to start shipping upgraded POWER9 Advanced I/O (AIO) processor in 2020. The new POWER9 model will have:

  • 8 OMI channels with a data rate of 25 GT/s.
  • Memory bandwidth of up to 650 GBs.
  • Upgraded Nvidia NVLink interface (likely NVLINK 3.0).
  • OpenCAPI 4.0. support.

IBM sees the Power9 AIO as a key technology to enable a diverse accelerator ecosystem today with more memory capacity and bandwidth.

So Should You Upgrade to New POWER9 Servers in 2020?

Hardware modernization will be mandatory for those who want to benefit from the latest IBM i software releases.

IBM i 7.1 is no longer supported.

IBM i 7.2 end of support for all POWER servers is in April 2020.

Furthermore, IBM has recently announced withdrawal from maintenance for several POWER7 servers due to take effect on December, 31st 2020. Specifically, the company will no longer support the following models:

Power7 End of Life 2020

Even if your hardware isn't nearing the end of support, migration to POWER9 will still make sense economically. We estimated that migrating from a POWER7 8202- E4D model to a POWER9 9009-41A model can result in over $30,000 in Total Cost of Ownership(TCO) savings over the next 5 years.

Furthermore, as we already mentioned POWER9 offers much faster performance than POWER8 and POWER7/7+ servers, supports big data and AI use cases and enables seamless virtualization. Get in touch with our team to learn more about POWER9 benefits and receive a custom estimation of TCO savings

 

where to start

The Real Cost of NOT Upgrading to POWER9
IBM POWER8 vs. POWER9 Comparison for 2020

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Wednesday, 29 January 2020