New IBM Power servers tackle big data challenges

The current focus on big data has placed an emphasis on the need to mine large data sets for strategic information.

This has brought about the need for hardware and software tools that are able to process enormous amounts of information rapidly. In response to this, IBM has rolled out a series of new Power System servers which the company touts as being “designed for the era of Big Data.”

IBM Power Systems are capable of analyzing data 50 times faster than the latest x86-based systems. Certain companies have reported analytics queries running more than 1,000 times faster, reducing run times from several hours to just seconds, according to Big Blue.

The systems are built with the new IBM Power8 processor, a sliver of silicon that measures just one square inch, which is embedded with more than 4 billion microscopic transistors and more than 11 miles of high-speed copper wiring.

The first Power8-based systems to debut are five Power Systems S-Class servers designed for large, scale-out computing environments. IBM is also announcing three new Power Systems solutions optimized for the unique requirements of big data and analytics solutions.

The new technologies, IBM Solution for BLU Acceleration, IBM Solution for Analytics and IBM Solution for Hadoop, are optimized for IBM’s new Power Systems to deliver quick insights on both structured and unstructured data. For example, the new IBM Solution for Analytics integrates with Cognos, SPSS and DB2 with BLU Acceleration to tackle data-driven analytical, computational and cognitive workloads rapidly.

The Power System is ideal for companies like payment processing firm FIS Global. The company hopes the combination Power8 processor and IBM FlashSystem storage arrays will help FIS more crunch through larger amounts of data.

The IBM Power8 processor
The IBM Power8 processor

“We expect higher utilization and performance capabilities along with the flexible computing resources needed to meet our client’s application processing and business delivery requirements,” said Mary Ellen Adam,  senior vice-president of large financial institutions product management for FIS. “Power8’s secure-key cryptographic accelerator and cryptographic coprocessor functions combined with FlashSystems’ enterprise-ready extreme performance and application latency reductions capability provides an infrastructure that is critical to the success of today’s core banking application environments.”

The new Power servers also help reduce floor space, power and cooling costs. IBM designed the systems to operate at industry-leading levels of efficiency, guaranteeing the system will perform as promised while at a sustained 65 per cent utilization — a rate higher than common x86 utilization levels.

IBM also unveiled two Linux offerings that fortify rapid cloud innovation on Power8 systems:

•Ubuntu Server 14.04 LTS, Ubuntu OpenStack and Juju service orchestration tools, on all Power8 systems.

•PowerKVM, a Power Systems-compatible version of the popular Linux-based virtualization platform KVM, on all Power8 systems that run Linux exclusively.

With availability beginning June 10, the new scale-out S Class servers include two systems that run Linux exclusively – the Power Systems S812L and S822L servers.

The three additional offerings, the Power Systems S814, S822 and S824 servers, provide clients the choice of running multiple operating systems including Linux, AIX and IBM i. Available in 1 and 2 socket and 2U and 4U configurations, the starting price of the new servers is $7973 ($200/month for 36 months).

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Nestor Arellano
Nestor Arellano
Toronto-based journalist specializing in technology and business news. Blogs and tweets on the latest tech trends and gadgets.

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