Power to the Planet
IBM is announcing today the first of its Power7 processor-based systems and the Power7 processor itself at an event in NYC.
This new chip is a major step forward in chip design from IBM, integrating eight processing cores in one chip package, and with each core being capable of executing four tasks or “threads.”
Intel’s Xeon processors, by way of comparison, have two threads per processing core.
The new Power7 systems that IBM is announcing that use these processors include:
- IBM Power 780: a new category of scalable, high-end servers, featuring an advanced modular design with up to 64 Power7 cores.
- IBM Power 770: a midrange system with up to 64 Power7 cores, featuring higher performance per core than Power6 processors and using up to 70 percent less energy for the same number of cores as Power6 processors.
- IBM Power 755: a high-performance computing cluster node with 32 Power7 cores.
The power of Power7 is the ability to facilitate millions of transactions in real time, the potential for which will be to support any variety of the smarter planet initiatives IBM is working on with customers around the globe (smarter traffic, smarter healthcare, and others which require high-performance processing at an affordable price).
As the world gets smarter, demands on IT are going to grow substantially, and workload optimized systems (including Power7) are going to be best equipped to help support that demand.
In the case of Power7, both IBM hardware and software have been optimized to handle the increased demand, with the hardware having been optimized with larger cache per core for data-intensive workloads, and the software optimized through multi-thread exploitation and near linear clustering.
In the following video, you can learn how IBM Power7 systems are assisting in cancer research at Rice University, and you’ll hear from IBM Power Systems GM Ross Mauri on the details of the new “smarter systems”:
The new Power7 systems, which build on IBM’s 12-point revenue share gains since 2004 in the $14 billion UNIX market, can manage millions of transactions in real time and analyze the associated volumes of data typical of emerging applications.
How can these systems be used for their greatest potential?
A smart electrical grid, for example, requires per-the-minute data to deliver electricity where it is needed most, in real time, while helping customers monitor their energy consumption in real time to avoid or reduce usage during the most expensive peaks each day.
A major U.S. utility moving to a smart grid pilot is moving from processing less than one million meter reads per day in a traditional grid, to more than 85 million reads per day in a smart grid. The utility needs to collect, analyze, and present all that information to its nearly five million customers in real time versus the overnight batch processing of a traditional electrical grid which delivers monthly billing statements.
eMeter, a leading maker of software that runs e-grids, uses IBM Power Systems to process the extreme amount of data that comes in from millions of smart meters while analyzing that information on the fly.
In Canada, operators of Ontario’s grid — the Independent Electricity System Operator (IESO) — which provides centralized metering services for more than 90 utility companies within Ontario Province, uses eMeter software on IBM Power Systems to process hourly power consumption data from all residential customers and plans soon to move to 15-minute data for large commercial users across the province in the near future.
“eMeter ran a successful benchmark on IBM POWER6 systems for more than 20 million smart meters — more than four-times scale of any other utilities industry benchmark,” said Scott Smith, client business manager, eMeter. “We know that there are already markets in the world that are scaling significantly. Combining eMeter and IBM’s POWER7 we are confident we can hit much higher numbers to meet their needs.