IBM has unveiled new Power systems in a bid to take back market share from the crowd of commodity x86 servers.
The firm claims that its architecture is better suited to handling big data and analytics workloads, and has partnered with Nvidia to deliver GPU acceleration in its new systems.
Set to be available from 31 October, the IBM Power S824L server line-up is based on the firm's own Power8 processor but also uses technologies from partners in the OpenPower Foundation, a consortium that IBM started last year in order to promote the Power architecture in the data centre.
"Our open innovation business model and approach to OpenPower will disrupt technology providers that offer closed, proprietary solutions produced within the walls of one company," said Doug Balog, general manager for Power systems at IBM's Systems & Technology Group.
The move follows the closure last week of the deal that will see IBM transfer its own x86 server business to Lenovo.
The new Power S824L servers ship with two processor cards, with the 3.42GHz 10-core Power8 chip or the 3.02GHz 12-core version, and can be configured with up to 1TB of DDR3 memory. The chassis has 12 drive bays available for storage.
However, a key differentiator for IBM is that the new systems tightly integrate Nvidia's GPU accelerator technology, which the firm claims can enable them to offer much greater compute performance for demanding analytics workloads.
This tight coupling is delivered through a new technology IBM calls Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface, which enables the processor effectively to share a memory space with accelerator hardware such as Nvidia GPU adapters.
The technology uses the PCI Express bus to physically connect the two devices, but eliminates much of the need to transfer data backwards and forwards between the two.
To take advantage of its GPU acceleration on Power Systems, IBM said it will optimise key applications such as its DB2 database software with BLU Acceleration, and is working to help optimise Power versions of widely used applications for fields such as bioinformatics, defence, finance, molecular dynamics and weather modelling that benefit from GPU acceleration.
The Power S824L servers are set to have a starting price of $26,030 (£16,284).
IBM also announced new applications and solutions for its Power systems, claiming that these can outperform rival solutions based on x86 server platforms.
The IBM Data Engine for Analytics - Power Systems Edition runs on Power8 systems configured with IBM's flash-based elastic storage technology, and is claimed to require just a third of the storage infrastructure required by an x86-based solution.
The IBM Data Engine for NoSQL combines the Power System S822L running Ubuntu Linux with IBM's FlashSystem 840 storage array, Redis Labs software and Altera application-specific FPGA hardware. This configuration is able to replace up to 24 Intel-based servers operating a comparable NoSQL store, IBM claimed.
Meanwhile, IBM added to its Power Enterprise Systems line-up with the Power E870 and Power E880, slated as the highest performing eight-socket systems in the industry with the ability to support up to 1,000 virtual machines per system, the firm said.
Able to scale up to 192 Power8 cores and 16TB of memory, in the case of the Power E880, the systems are designed to support the most demanding mission-critical applications while running the AIX, IBM i, or Linux operating systems.
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