What Makes IBM Power10 Unique from AS400 Systems?
You must have heard about the launch of IBM Power10 Systems that was announced by IBM last year. It is now officially confirmed that IBM will begin shipping the first set of Power10 servers in the second half of 2021. The innovative Power10 processor will offer three times more performance and 2.6 times more efficiency than AS400 systems. According to IBM, such power and efficiency will bolster hybrid cloud, AI, and security workloads in upcoming years.
Power10 for IBMi, AIX, and Linux
Power10 will offer impressive performance improvement and hardware updates in comparison to its predecessors, like AS400 systems. But without the availability of hardware until next year, we will not know how Power10 affects IBM I, AIX, and Linux. After availing hardware, IBM will release new operating systems that will provide the advantage of Power10 hardware capabilities in terms of security, speed, encryption, virtual machine, and data transfer.
Impressive Architecture Specs
The specs and architecture of IBM Power10 Systems are quite impressive. The new setup is based on a 7nm process, and IBM cram 18 billion transistors on a 602 sq mm piece of silicon. This is much better than the power9 transistors, which was built on a 14 nm process. The latest version of the chip features 128 MB of L3 cache, and L2 comes with a size of 32 MB, but in reality, it shines as a mixture of advanced I/O and memory sharing capabilities to extend IBM’s lead.
IBM has partnered with Samsung Electronics for the manufacturing part, and the company has manufactured two versions of Power10.
The high-performance simultaneous multi-threads (SMT) features eight threads per core and sixteen physical cores, but only 15 cores will be activated due to yield issues. Furthermore, SMT4 (four threads per core) and out of thirty-two physical cores (only 30 will be activated). In reality, the actual chip for SMT8 and SMT4 is identical, and this core difference is primarily necessary for software licensing.
IBM will pack Power10 System in a single-chip setup, having up to 16 sockets, each delivering 15 SMT8 cores running at 4GHz. IBM AS400 systems are also building dual-chip modules, with up to 4 dual-chip sockets, including up to 30 SMT8 bodies running at 3.5 GHz. This will allow IBM to deliver up to 240 SMTs per socket.
Data Transfer Enhancements
To keep the processors fed with data, IBM AS400 systems provide various mechanisms, which is where Power10 system architecture shines. IBM Power10 will feature –
– 2 PCI express 5.0 controllers.
– Each PCI will feature 16 lanes running at 32 (GT)
– Works at 128 GB per second
– First chipset to support the new bus
What’s the Big Deal About IBM Power10 Systems?
IBM AS400 systems are the first 7nm processor from IBM capable of delivering 3X more efficiency and capacity and allowing higher performance. The IBM Power10 processor uses an energy optimization and performance-centered design and 3x greater efficiency than the previous Power9 generation processor. This can help multiple data centers in accelerating higher efficiency and reduce costs. Moreover, at the same time, it will enable hybrid cloud users to handle more workloads.
IBM has made more memory available in the cloud with a significant breakthrough in IBM Power10 called Memory Inception. This technology collects physical memory across a group of systems, where any of the systems in the group can gain access to the entire collective memory— up to multi-PB. This feature will allow businesses to decrease the costs of their memory-intensive workloads on the cloud.
Expanding AI Capabilities from the Previous Generation
By enhancing AI capabilities in its CPU core, IBM Power10 will deliver twenty times more performance than Power9. This will bring a more incredible combination of AI workloads on the hybrid cloud with a typical enterprise workload.
AI is becoming essential for business applications and continues to be integrated more and more into system applications. The IBM AS400 systems will provide core AI inferencing capabilities without specialized hardware.
An Order-of-magnitude Increase for Memory
IBM AS400 systems power the new “Memory Inception” architecture with this chip. This modern architecture is known as “Holy Grail” of microelectronics, and it will enable customers to share data in terms of petabytes among multiple systems. This will create a single pool of bundled memory that ranges to two petabytes, far more than the 64 TB of memory sharing of X86 systems. According to IBM, this approach will deliver data at a tiny fraction compared to other memory sharing techniques like RDMA.
Power10 ML Workload will be like a Commercial Workload
IBM AS400 systems are also involving new dedicated accelerators to deliver 10x to 20x more speed for ML inference in comparison to Power9. Machine learning capabilities based on the latest learning models are also expected to be the most common workloads in a new processor and, in contrast, to traditional transaction processing.
40% Increment in Encryption and Four Times the Number of Encryption Engines
Security was another focus area for IBM AS400 systems in Power10, and as per IBM, the company has expanded memory of Power10 processors. It will allow each chip-set to support four times the number of AES encryption engines and encrypt data 40% faster in comparison to Power9.
Isolation and Enhanced Security for Containers
IBM AS400 systems are more secured than other system software available in the market, and due to this reason, several banks use them. In IBM Power10, the company enhances security capabilities, like- transparent memory encryption, to support end-to-end security. The IBM AS400 systems are intended to achieve drastically more accelerated encryption performance in comparison to the Power9 standard. The latest version, i.e., IBM Power10 is expected to have future cryptographic standards like quantum-safe cryptography. Such capabilities will bring improvements to container security.
IBM developed this new chip to increase the container’s security and provide isolation to several machines running on the same chip. The new hardware is developed to protect containers running inside Red Hat OpenShift and will strengthen the Power10 usefulness in hybrid environments.
Moreover, to address the latest cybersecurity issues, IBM Power10 will provide safeguards and isolation capabilities in new hardware. If a container is exposed to risk, the IBM AS400 systems processor will block other containers from being attacked. Furthermore, to deal with vulnerabilities, the AS400 application has dynamic implementation register control. It’s been five years since the IBM AS400 Power10 is in the making, and it’s the result of lots of patents and billions of dollars invested by IBM and Samsung. With its ground-breaking capabilities, the software will reset expectations in upcoming years.
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