IBM plants Power 7 on Smarter Planet pitch
Solution selling on steroids
The chip story coming out of Monday’s Power7 unveiling from IBM is bigger than usual. Naturally it is doing plenty of the requisite feeds-and-speeds chest-beating, but there is a broader message directed at a wider audience.
IBM is closely tying the Power7 chip and systems launches to its Smarter Planet initiative, which is the company’s overarching theme du jour. Smarter Planet is its answer to the question “How can technology solve the world’s problems?”.
What it's talking about is using tech stuff to discover, solve or manage large-scale challenges ranging from medical care to optimizing the power grids to whatever else you have in mind. The take-away message is that problems are getting more problematic, and the key to solving them is the proper gathering, analysis, and use of data.
IBM has a Smarter Planet spin on everything from worldwide dilemmas to the problems faced by businesses every day. The business-oriented messages are primarily about dealing with the ever-increasing flood of data that is arising from better tracking of operational/market data.
One example it cites is an electric utility making the switch to smart meters that will report real-time power usage every 15 minutes. This will result in about a petabyte of additional data annually – data that will be used to optimize power distribution on the fly, adjust bills to reflect peak/off peak usage and, of course, to better understand usage patterns. This is going to require quite a bit more storage and more cycles to process, but you can’t really argue against the underlying business case.
That’s just one example, of course, and perhaps an obvious one, but it’s safe to say that almost every industry is going to have the opportunity to accumulate – or buy – more data than they ever dreamed of having even a few years ago. The real questions, I think, will center on how well (or poorly) they utilize this data and use it to give themselves a way to smite their competitors.
IBM wants to be the vendor that will lead customers into this Promised Land – with systems, with software, and with business-oriented services that will give specific advice geared toward each customer’s unique situation. IBM’s other big system launches planned for 2010 – a new generation of System x and a new mainframe – will also be wrapped around this higher-level theme.
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IBM finally catches up with Power7
Glad IBM's Power7 announcement brought you excitement. Its clear that you enjoy making statements that have absolutely no substantiations-its what we call FUD.
Sun and Oracle have been shipping its third generation UltraSPARCT2+ servers for over two years now, so comparisons against it is a bit behind the times. So its great news to finally see IBM catching up in the world of multi-core processors! Having been dual-core for almost a decade, IBM has finally been proven wrong and now agrees with what Sun has been telling the world since 2005! Multi-thread, multi-core is the only way to address todays datacenter challenges. But to really address these challenges, its going to need more than a great CPU and that’s where IBM falls flat. AIX still hasn't been proven to scale beyond 128-threads (yesterdays Power 595 or todays Power 750) with no real world commercial workload benchmarks to prove it can scale. Sure, IBM will lead you to believe this with all the 4 x socket CPU only benchmarks you want, but where are the 8 x socket benchmarks besides the IBM typical SPECCPU results? which hide any I/O or OS challenges they surely have.
Where are the 8 x socket Java, SAP, TPC-C or even better, TPC-H benchmarks to prove all this might??
Where are the Oracle based benchmarks? Do realize that Oracle is #1 in OLTP, Data Warehousing, Middleware, Customer Relationship Management , Human Capital Management, Enterprise Performance Management. Without Oracle based benchmarks, IBM is pigeonholing Power7 into a niche market.
Yeah, IBM will iron out the AIX scaling kinks-eventually. Sun had the same challenges with Solaris back in 2005 and has had 5+ years to optimize and tune to this new world of massive multi-threading, now proven to run up to 512 threads in a single OS image today. But by the time AIX catches up, Oracle will be delivering UltraSPARCT3 and the follow-ons that will again leapfrog IBM's Power CPUs, and will also get squeezed from the other end with Oracle/Fujitsu delivering the follow-ons to SPARCVII+, which by the way, are being developed and has been committed to publicly. You can see the roadmaps clearly identified on slides 16 & 17 in following public presentation.
So while Power7 may be a great CPU, and has finally caught up, its going to be dragged through the mud by AIX and scalability challenges. And oh, have you seen the actual pricing for Power7? WOW-It sure won't compete against Sun CMT-especially at 4x the pricing for same # of sockets/cores!
Power7 brings excitment to the market
"Oracle and IBM's knife-fight over high-end enterprise hardware is about to begin--and IBM intends to bring a cannon."
The cancellation of SPARC64 VIII leaves Oracle with just four socket CMT boxes and an end of life scale up system OEM's from Fujitsu.
The Power7 boxes more than leap frog the T2+ with 3X better Java performance with the same number of sockets/chips/cores.