IBM Intros X6 Architecture to Boost x86 Servers for Cloud, Analytics

IBM's sixth-generation X-Architecture revs up x86-based servers to better handle big data analytics and cloud apps.

IBM announced a new X6 architecture, which optimizes x86-based servers for analytics and cloud workloads.

The X6 architecture is the sixth generation of IBM’s X-Architecture for System x and PureSystems servers and is fast, agile and resilient, IBM said. The architecture offers integrated flash storage for high-performance, modular design for long life cycles to help reduce costs and improve resiliency for increased uptime.

The integrated eXFlash memory-channel storage is a dual in-line memory management (DIMM) based storage that provides up to 12.8 terabytes of ultrafast flash storage close to the processor, increasing application performance by providing very low system write latency that is key for analytics applications. X6 can provide significantly lower latency for database operations, which can lower licensing costs and reduce storage costs by reducing or eliminating the need for external SAN/NAS storage units, IBM said

The system’s modular, scalable design supports multiple generations of CPUs and can reduce acquisition costs up to 28 percent in comparison to one competitive offering, IBM said. And its memory and storage increase virtual machine capacity to allow SaaS delivery of applications. Autonomous self-healing CPU and memory systems maximize application uptime by proactively identifying potential failures and taking action to correct them, IBM said.

In addition, the system’s Upward Integration Modules can help reduce the cost and complexity of system administration by allowing operators to perform management tasks through virtualization tools.

"Our enterprise X-Architecture for x86-based servers and solutions delivers high performance and the highest customer satisfaction in the industry, making us number one in high-end x86 systems," Adalio Sanchez, general manager for IBM x-86 and PureSystems Solutions, said in a statement. "We continue to innovate and deliver leadership performance, reliability and investment protection for mission-critical workloads with X6."

IBM noted that enterprises are rapidly adopting analytics for greater business insight and moving critical workloads like ERP, analytics and database to the cloud for increased efficiency and lower costs, and x86-based systems are the first choice for many. The X6 architecture represents IBM's continuing R&D investment and industry leadership in x86-based systems, and is designed to provide new levels of performance and resiliency for enterprise applications. For memory-hungry applications, X6 delivers three times the scalable memory of current competitors' and IBM x86-based systems to support cloud and analytics, IBM said.

Server models supported by this new architecture currently include the System x3850 X6 four-socket system, System x3950 X6 eight-socket system, and the IBM Flex System x880 scalable compute nodes. IBM also is introducing the System x3650 M4 BD storage server, a two-socket rack server supporting up to 14 drives delivering up to 56 terabytes of high-density storage—the largest available in the industry. It provides 46 percent greater performance than previous comparable IBM System x servers and is ideally suited for distributed scale-out of big data workloads.