Preparing for IBM Power9 release: What we know so far

Preparing for IBM Power9 release: What we know so far

Since initial announcements of its release, IBM system users have been buzzing about Power9. As the latest chip in the IBM's popular Power processing family, Power9 promises a host of advancements, and will be one of the most unique IBM releases thanks to its innovative capabilities and user options.

Because there's so much excitement and speculation surrounding the release of Power9, it can help to focus on the simple facts. As we await Power9's availability, here's a few things the IT community is expecting:

Promised advancements: Changing the face of chip technology

Baseline Data Services reported that Power9 will include several advancements that represent new steps forward for chip technology overall. It will be the first chip processor to include Gen4 Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIE) technology, which translates to double the bandwidth and unheard of gigatransfer speeds.

Power9 will also include the latest Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface bus 2.0, enabling it to increase power for heterogeneous computing.

"It will attach to advanced generations of new storage class memories, along with new accelerators, such as field programmable gate arrays," Bradley McCredie, IBM Power Systems Development Vice President told IBM Systems Mag. "That innovation is important, considering where computers are going and the increasing role accelerators and advanced memories will play."

Two available versions

Power9 will also be the first chip in IBM's Power architecture to include two different versions: a scale-out (SO) model for Linux and a scale-up (SU) model for UNIX.

"So, now we have the cost optimizations you need to succeed in the Linux SO market along with the high throughput and a 24-core Power9 chip," McCredie explained. "On the SU side, we continue to focus on the values we've had forever in our UNIX marketplace. We have a more robust memory subsystem, which provides huge memory capacity and bandwidth."

Supporting the latest IT trends

Many of the advancements seen with Power9 come as a direct result of the ways in which users are currently leveraging their chip technology, and the demands they will have in the future. For instance, McCredie noted that some of today's top computing trends like machine learning and artificial intelligence require support for advanced accelerators and memories. Power9 will be able to answer these demands by providing the level of performance users need alongside cost efficiency.

Looking toward the future: IBM's Power Roadmap

Alongside announcement of the release, IBM also publicized its Power9 Roadmap, an important concept for current IBM users. The roadmap, presented at the OpenPOWER Summit meeting in April 2016 highlighted the advancements coming with Power9, as well as IBM's commitment to creating a more cohesive ecosystem with its partners.

"This [roadmap] shows clients they can migrate over to POWER technology and that a robust and healthy futures exists for that architecture," McCredie said.

As the release of Power9 nears, it's important to ensure that critical systems can work with the new chip technology. Galileo Performance Explorer will inherently support Power9, and Galileo has agents for an array of server technologies including IBM AIX, IBM I and Linux.

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