IBM aims Linux OpenPOWER systems at Intel

IBM and its OpenPOWER partners are launching three flavors of Linux servers in an effort to swipe big data workloads from Intel.

IBM on Thursday launched a series of Linux servers based on OpenPOWER with the aim of taking big data workloads away from Intel.

The OpenPOWER effort revolves around open hardware designs that run on IBM's POWER processor. The aim of the group, which includes IBM, Nvidia, Mellanox, Canonical and Wistron, is to offer a counterweight to Intel in the data center.

Previously: IBM launches SuperVessel, a free OpenPOWER cloud service | IBM's SoftLayer to use OpenPOWER servers | IBM's new server plan: Take on Intel, ride OpenPower

According to IBM, the Power Systems LC line can handle big data workloads faster than Intel. That claim is based on IBM's internal testing showing that the Linux servers can complete Apache Spark workloads faster and at half the cost of an Intel E5-2699 V3-based server. IBM used an average of 10 SparkBench benchmarks.

As a general rule, you should take vendor internal benchmark comparisons with a grain of salt. But it does appear that IBM plans to use price as a weapon to get OpenPOWER traction in the data center. We didn't get price ranges for the systems and will update if we find out more.

IBM also focused on ease of buying and included mobile shopping options and click to buy processes. The three flavors of Power Systems LC servers include:

  • A 1-socket 2U system called S812LC. This system has up to 10 cores, 1TB of memory and up to 14 disk drives.
  • A 2-socket 2U server dubbed S822LC that is designed for commercial workloads. The S822LC can have up to 20 cores, 1TB of memory and 230GB/sec memory bandwidth.
  • The S822LC also has a variation that's designed for high performance computing. The high performance computing system has two Nvidia Tesla K80 GPUs.

IBM said the systems will be generally available before year end.

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