IBM Aims New Power7 Systems at the Smarter Planet
IBM launches a set of Power7 systems that it says deliver up to four times the energy efficiency and twice the performance of the previous generation of Power systems and some of the current crop of competing systems.NEW YORK-IBM launched a set of new Power7 systems that it says deliver up to four times the energy efficiency and twice the performance of the previous generation of Power systems and some of the current crop of competing systems. At an old fashioned reach-out-and-touch launch at the swanky Mandarin Oriental Hotel here, Rod Adkins, senior vice president of IBM's Systems and Technology Group, laid out IBM's strategy for its new ecofriendly systems.
Indeed, Adkins laid the foundation for the launch event at the outset.
"??Ã IBM Power 780, a new category of scalable, high-end servers, featuring an advanced modular design with up to 64 POWER7 "cores," or CPUs, and the new TurboCore workload optimizing mode. TurboCore can deliver up to two-times the performance per core of POWER6 processor-based systems providing excellent ROI for applications with high per-core performance requirements, such as managing and analyzing transactions from a smart electrical grid. ??Ã IBM Power 770, a midrange system with up to 64 POWER7 cores, featuring higher performance per core than POWER6 processors and using up to 70 percent less energy for the same number of cores as the IBM Power 570. ??Ã IBM Power 755, a high-performance computing cluster node with 32 POWER7 cores, Energy Star qualified for exceptional energy efficiency, and optimized for the most challenging analytic workloads. ??Ã IBM Power 750 Express, an Energy Star qualified business server for mid-market clients offering 4 times the processing capacity of its predecessor, the IBM Power 550 Express in the same energy envelope and up to five-times the performance and seven-times the performance per watt of comparable Sun and HP UNIX servers."Mauri said IBM actually released several Power7 systems into the wild as early as August 2009 to let a few key customers use them. One such customer was Kamran Khan, vice provost of IT at Rice University. Rice University is using the systems in conjunction with the Texas Medical Center to look for better ways to treat and possibly cure cancer. "Cancer is going to take over as the No. 1 killer of people-right now it's heart disease-but cancer is going to overtake that," Khan said. "So we look at how to use computational power to be able to do things. We're looking at computational quantum chemistry, so it's not business data, but we do a lot of data analysis. Quick computational research is very much needed" for purposes such as visualizations, simulation, DNA analysis and algorithms. "We're on the systems now and we're seeing lots of benefits," said Khan, whose organization uses the Power7 systems in a cluster. "Scalability is very critical to us, but so is having high availability," Khan said. He said Rice practices a condo-computing model in which researchers are allotted research time. "We are able to insert these 'condos' and build a system as well as have a lot of common areas." Another user, Terry Keene, president and CEO of iSys (Integration Systems), said he has been selling IBM systems to Wall Street for years and just three years ago only one-third of all broker deals were done by computers, but today more than two-thirds are done electronically, with one-third or fewer conducted by voice. "They need trading to happen in under 100 microseconds," Keene said. The Power7 systems can deliver this, he said. "We need to scale things with a much smaller footprint. Power7 is going to change that whole scale framework." eMeter, a leading maker of software that runs e-grids, uses IBM Power Systems to process the extreme amount of data that comes in from millions of smart meters while analyzing that information on the fly. In Canada, operators of Ontario's grid, the IESO (Independent Electricity System Operator)-which provides centralized metering services for more than 90 utility companies within Ontario Province-use eMeter software on IBM Power Systems to process hourly power consumption data from all residential customers. At the Power7 systems launch, Scott Smith, client business manager for eMeter, said, "There are hundreds of millions of meters all talking back to us over the 'net, and our goal is to take all that data and roll it back into business processes ... Utilities are now at a crossroads. They have to be efficient, green and now a service industry for the first time. They have to focus on customer service." Moreover, "eMeter ran a successful benchmark on IBM Power6 systems for more than 20 million smart meters-more than four times [the] scale of any other utilities industry benchmark," Smith said in a statement. "We know that there are already markets in the world that are scaling significantly. Combining eMeter and IBM's Power7 we are confident we can hit much higher numbers to meet their needs." At the Power7 systems launch, Smith said eMeter has aspirations to support 50 million smart meters with the Power7 systems. "Data is the element of this equation," Smith said. "We need systems to manage that data. We're going to have 1,000 times more data. So I need systems that integrate with business processes" to handle that data. Meanwhile, Mauri said all of the IBM Software Group brands have developed optimized solutions for the Power7 systems. In addition, Adkins said IBM will be working more closely with ISV partners to deliver Power7-optimized versions of their products.