IBM updates Power7 hardware

IBM updates Power7 hardware

Summary: IBM has refreshed its Power7 range of servers and processors with upgraded hardware, two new blades and a speed boost to the underlying Power7 processors. The company announced the revised systems and hardware on Tuesday.

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TOPICS: Storage
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IBM has refreshed its Power7 range of servers and processors with upgraded hardware, two new blades and a speed boost to the underlying Power7 processors.

The company announced the revised systems and hardware on Tuesday. Power7 processors are used for CPU-intensive processing tasks such as high availability databases and supercomputing.

"Today's Power announcements demonstrate IBM's ongoing investment in workload-optimised servers," Tom Rosamilia, general manager of IBM Power and z Systems said in a statement. "Just two short months after publically demonstrating... Watson and its advanced analytical and learning capabilities, IBM is upping the ante with a performance bump in the underlying system."

IBM PS704 Blade

The BladeCenter PS704 is a 32-core Power7 blade. Photo credit: IBM

Power7 processors were used in the Power 750 Express servers that powered IBM's natural language question solver Watson.

For the update IBM has released two blades and upgraded both the IBM Power 755 Express and IBM Power 750 Express servers.

Speed Boost Expresses

The four rack unit (4U) IBM Power 750 Express, which powered Watson and is designed for database and virtualisation applications, has been upgraded with the option to have faster processors of eight cores at 3.2GHz and 3.6GHz; six cores at 3.7GHz or four cores at 3.7GHz. Each core is capable of up to 4MB of L3 cache.

IBM says the revised 750 has three times the performance of Oracle's Sparc T3-2 server and twice the performance of HP's Itanium-powered Integrity BL890c i2 when running the SPECint_2006 server benchmark.

The 755, which is a high-performance computing variant of the 750 with InfiniBand, has gained the ability to use 3.61GHz Power 7, up from the 3.55GHz available to it previously.

Denser Blades

The 16-core PS703 Express and 32-core PS704 Express blades have two sockets each and take up less space than their predecessors. The PS700 (4 cores), PS701 (8 cores) and PS702 (16 cores) Expresses were announced in April 2010.

Both of the new blades use 2.4GHz Power7 processors and have 128 and 256GB of memory respectively. They are denser than their predecessors, with more cores and taking up less space, but the maximum speed of their processors has been dropped from 3GHz to 2.4GHz.

Power7s compete with Sparc64, Itanium and the top of Intel's x86-64 range, such as the Xeon E7 family, in the market for CPU-intensive 64-bit applications.

Pricing was not available at the time of writing. Both the blades and the revised 750 and 755 Express servers support IBM's AIX 5.3, 6.1 and 7.1 releases, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 6 and Novell's Suse Linux Enterprise Server operating systems.

Topic: Storage

Jack Clark

About Jack Clark

Currently a reporter for ZDNet UK, I previously worked as a technology researcher and reporter for a London-based news agency.

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