IBM today launched its next-generation Power7 systems, designed to help customers process and analyse large amounts of data in real time, while using less energy and boosting performance and return on investment.
The move is IBM's latest attempt to grab further market share in the $14bn (£9bn) Unix space, having already managed what it claims to be a 12 point revenue share gain since 2004.
The announcement covers four new hardware offerings: the Power 770 mid-range server with up to 64 cores; the Power 755 high-performance computing cluster node with 32 cores; the mid-market 750 Express server which has four times the processing capacity of its Power 550 predecessor; and the Power 780 high-end server.
The Power 780 features a TurboCore workload optimising mode which can deliver up to two times the performance per core of Power6 processor-based systems, according to IBM, and is therefore useful for running applications with high per-core performance requirements.
When not in TurboCore mode, all Power7 processors are in MaxCore mode with up to eight cores per socket and four threads per core, or 32 threads in total.
IBM also announced an Intelligent Threads feature which can vary dynamically based on demand, and Intelligent Energy technology which ensures that customers get better "performance per watt", according to IBM UK Power systems leader Robert Reuben.
"This is critical as we are seeing many examples where there is limited electrical power in key datacentres, especially in London," he said.
"People can't expand power use or floor space but, by consolidating workloads or replacing systems with Power7, they will be able to deliver with their existing footprint."
Another new feature of Power7 is active memory expansion, which manages to expand the memory capacity of the systems by dynamically adjusting the amount of compressed memory based on a workload's memory needs.
Power7 systems also support 1,000 virtual servers or "partitions" on a single system, over four times as many as on Power6, said IBM.
"We don't think one kind of system fits all. You need different kinds of systems for different workloads," said Reuben. "We are positioning these as first-generation workload optimised systems for a smarter planet."
Reuben added that the software group at IBM has "strongly participated" in the release by re-engineering some of its core products to take advantage of the new capabilities offered by Power7.
WebSphere, DB2, InfoSphere Warehouse and Cognos are key among these software products.
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