IBM Power10 has arrived!
10th September 2021
Blog written by Mark Huntley, Infrastructure Architect
IBM Power processors are found in many of the world’s most powerful supercomputers and are the brains in business systems across the world in a variety of industries, such as financial, healthcare, logistics, retail, telecom, and government. IBM Power Systems are indispensable in companies of all sizes from large enterprises to small and mid-sized businesses (SMB), offering superb reliability. This announcement is focused on the high-end (Enterprise Servers); we hope to see scale-out models aimed at SMB next year (pending announcement).
IBM announced Power10 processors at the Hot Chips conference in August 2020 and are now announcing the E1080 Enterprise Systems for availability in September 2021. Power11 processors are already under development!
Power10 is the first IBM chip to use 7 nanometre (nm) technology as shown by the chart below. An astonishing 18 billion transistors are packaged on a chip not much bigger than a postage stamp, which is nearly three times as many people as there are in the world. Containing hundreds of new patents, Power10 supports up to 240 cores in a single system and offers over a 50% lower carbon footprint for the same work compared to POWER8 and 33% carbon footprint improvement compared to POWER9.
New Features of IBM Power10 Enterprise Systems
There are many features to explore but I have selected just a few for this blog:
IBM Power10 for Security
The new processors have quadrupled the number of crypto engines in every core compared to POWER9, this allows algorithms like AES, SHA2 and SHA3 to run significantly faster (2.5x). IBM will automatically and transparently encrypt all data in main memory for added security. Data at rest (disk and tape) may be encrypted with a very low-performance overhead, for example, AIX LV (Logical Volume) and IBM i ASP’s (Auxiliary Storage Pool). The crypto engine improvements position Power10 to support upcoming cryptography techniques such as Quantum-safe. Plus it is superbly positioned to run hybrid cloud environments with end-to-end encryption, lower performance overheads and simplified management.
IBM Power 10 for Artificial Intelligence
IBM Power10 processors have been improved with a focus on Artificial Intelligence (AI). A key improvement is a set of four embedded Matrix Math Assist (MMA) units in each core. This allows AI models to execute tensor or matrix computations more efficiently without the need for external accelerators such as GPUs. Compared to POWER9, inferencing performance has improved an impressive 5x to 20x. This allows inferencing to be performed close to the data, directly on the operational server and infuse the AI capability into business applications. AI model training can be performed anywhere, for example, in the cloud, on IBM Power Systems or x86 systems. This provides the ability to build and train the models on commodity hardware but then deploy on IBM Power E1080 Enterprise Servers close to the data for superior performance.
IBM Power10 for Memory
IBM E1080 Enterprise Servers have a new memory architecture called Open Memory Interface (OMI). This offers 2x better memory reliability compared with industry-standard DIMMs for the most critical applications. The memory subsystem has 1.8x higher bandwidth compared to POWER9 with 1,636GB/s bandwidth per drawer. The total memory supported remains unchanged at 16TB per drawer, 64TB for a fully configured system. Memory bandwidth is 2.6x higher than scalable (4+ socket) x86 processor. All memory is encrypted, at all times, without any performance penalty.
An interesting new feature is “Memory Inception” (which will be available in a future announcement). This allows workloads in a cluster of servers to access memory of neighbouring nodes with low latency and high bandwidth. For example, workload A running on system 1 may also utilise memory of systems (nodes) 2 and 3. The workloads run on a single system, but memory can be accessed anywhere. This supports up to 2 petabytes of addressable memory and the potential for 1000s of nodes.
IBM Power10 for Performance
IBM E1080 servers can deliver up to 30% more performance per core and over 50% better total capacity at the socket and system level as compared to the previous generation IBM Power E980 server. A two-node box will be more powerful than any POWER8 ever shipped and per-core performance will be 60-80% more than POWER8. The E1080 system has smashed the world record SAP HANA two-tier benchmark with a rating of 955k SAPS, using 8 sockets and 120 cores. By comparison, Google Cloud needed 16 sockets and 448 cores to achieve 893K SAPS.
Supported Operating Systems
- AIX 7.1 TL5 SP5
- AIX 7.2 TL4 SP1, TL5 SP1
- AIX 7.3 TL0 SP1 (when available)
- IBM i 7.3 TR11
- IBM i 7.4 TR5
- Red Hat Enterprise Linux 8.2, 8.4, 8.6, 9
- SUSE Linux Enterprise Server 12, 15, 16
If you would like to learn more please watch the below videos:
IBM marketing video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=btbeXx6xXBU
IBM’s latest chip launch video: https://youtu.be/7i24OYPnpeI
Why IBM processor-based systems? https://youtu.be/oX2M_TTy2N8