IBM Power8 Server Comes With Nvidia's NVLink Interconnect
Putting Nvidia's technology into the IBM system will speed up performance for such emerging workloads as AI, deep learning and data analytics.IBM officials are rolling out a new Power server that they say is more powerful and efficient than competing Intel-based systems when running such compute-intensive workloads, such as artificial intelligence, deep learning and data analytics. The new Power System S822LC is the latest server in the company's Linux server portfolio and features innovations developed through the IBM-led OpenPower Foundation. The system runs on revamped Power8 chips and will give organizations an alternative to servers powered by Intel's x86-based Xeon processors, according to IBM officials. The key innovation with the S822LC is new interconnect technology from Nvidia embedded in the Power8 chip that officials said will enable data to flow between the CPU and graphics chips five times faster than in x86-servers. The system embeds Nvidia's NVLink high-speed interconnect technology into the silicon to connect the Power8 chips with Nvidia's new Tesla P100 Pascal GPU accelerators. The result is that the S882LC can run data-intensive workloads significantly faster than x86 systems, and fewer systems are needed in the data center. According to Dylan Boday, an IBM Power engineer, Chinese internet service provider Tencent has been testing the new Power8 systems and finding that workloads run three times faster and that it can reduce the number of servers in its data centers by two-thirds.
NVLink is a critical part of the S822LC system, Boday told eWEEK. The link communication between the CPU and GPU has always been a choke point in servers that use accelerators, he said. With NVLink, "that no longer is a bottleneck."