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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...
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IBM i Performance Optimization: Improving Application Response Times

IBM i Performance Optimization: Improving Application Response Times
Keeping your IBM i optimized for optimal response times requires regular monitoring of system resources and identifying various elements that affect application performance. Poor response times of only two or three seconds delay can quickly get compounded over time when poorly written applications are involved or database maintenance has been neglected. Like most performance degradation issues on the IBM i, response time issues only get worse as the number of transactions multiply. Ignoring system performance issues affects productivity and frustrate customers, which in turn increases costs and affects revenue. Below are some ideas to consider if a major IBM i upgrade is not a viable budgetary option. Consider the cost benefits of optimizing your IBM i system resourcesThe number one factor that affects response times is available processing power (CPU), and the most expensive resource in your IBM Power system. Even new Power9 systems can experience performance degradation. If your system is experiencing poor response times, keep an eye on capacity utilization throughout the day, and check how close CPU utilization gets to 100%, especially during peak periods of the day. If you spot a pattern, perhaps there are some jobs you can plan on running a different time of day when CPU is regularly underutilized. Any system administration and batch jobs that can be scheduled at lighter periods are good examples. Take note of the applications and types of jobs consuming the most CPU resources. If these jobs involve SQL, pay attention to the number of file opens they are performing. If this number is high for the system, the fix can be as simple as changing how the programs run queries to keep files open between calls. You also may consider using IBM i Workload Groups to control the amount of CPU, memory pools and sub-systems to ensure critical applications get the resources they need to run optimally, while restricting less important jobs from stealing their needed resources. Most IBM i systems contain between 15-40% of obsolete and unnecessary data consuming disk space, which is often due to poor database and spool file maintenance. Bloated databases will definitely impact response times...
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