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IBM unleashes its new Linux-based S-822-LC system

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September 12, 2016

Earlier today, IBM said it has unleashed its new Linux-based S-822-LC system designed for businesses.

What makes this new system different is that itís based on a new processor/motherboard configuration, complete with a NVIDIA 'NVLink' connector integrated to the system.

According to some industry stats, about 46.8 percent of HPC users have a significant number of applications that are starved for more memory.

Those users might want to take a look at this new IBM solution. The S-822-LC system has more memory than what we've seen so far available in the industry.

And it's not just the memory but also the general memory bandwith. The basic Power 8 system has up to 230 GB/s of memory bandwidth vs. 102 GB/s for Intelís latest processors.

Big Blue, with the help of its OpenPOWER partner NVIDIA, has upped the ante by building NVLink into this new Linux server system.

NVLink is a GPU connector that provides a very fast solution that can easily connect to GPUs. Itís relatively fast at 80 GB/s when compared to current PCIe 3.0 speeds of 32 GB/s.

NVLink also provides GPUs direct access to server memory, which serves to flatten the programming model and further reduce latency.

Each S-822-LC contains four NVLink ports supporting up to four Pascal GPUs. The other two systems announced today include the S-822-LC for Big Data, a storage optimized 2U two socket unit that has space for up to 16 drives (96 TB in total), two NVIDIA K80s, and 512 GB of main memory.

The other system is a highly dense 1U unit that offers up to two processors (20 cores in total), 32 TB of storage, and 512 GB of base memory.

According to Big Blue, this new system can deliver almost 7,000 threads in a single rack, about 80 percent more than HPEís DL-360 G8 system.

All of those servers can only run Linux operating systems and workloads. Their Linux ecosystem is growing at a good pace with more than 2,500 Linux ISVs developing for Power and more than 100,000 open source Linux packages optimized for Power 8.

Their industry alliance, the OpenPOWER Foundation, now boasts about 255 members, which is quite a bit larger than the original five founding members (IBM, Google and NVIDIA).

IBM has also hinted that it's going to be more aggressive in the near future when it comes to taking on Intel and its x86 partners.

In an analyst briefing, IBM pledged to beat any x86 system on a TCO (Total Cost of Ownership) and also on a TCA (Total Cost of Acquisition) basis.

We would look for Big Blue to follow through on its aggressive rhetoric. The company needs Power to become a breakthrough product in order to remain relevant as a system house.

Given the original specifications of the new HPC system, we feel that they can compete and win against x86 in a lot of application segments.

Source: IBM.

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