back to article All the AIs NVMe, says IBM: Claims POWER9s + InfiniBand brainier than COTS

IBM has claimed its POWER9 gear is better placed to help AIs doing "cognitive" work than your common-or-garden X86 commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) kit after tests in New York earlier this month. Big Blue recently ran a "demo" which it said proved it can leave COTS servers and storage in the dust using (what else?) its own …

  1. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    I'm struggling to see the differentiator here. They've achieved some impressive numbers due to the interconnects used between the IBM hardware and the use of the next generation of PCI bus. And are comparing this to the existing generation of x86.

    Don't get me wrong - I'm a fan of Power, and the excellent but expensive Flashsystem is IBM's only 21st century storage (the rest is 1990s vintage being dragged out mostly by marketing). I just can't see what they're doing that others couldn't equal.

    1. seven of five Silver badge

      Probably: They got there first, so they have the bragging rights.

      otoh: yes, new is quicker than old. Big deal.

      Oh well, who understands marketing anyway?

    2. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      I've rarely had a problem with IBM hardware or software. My problems lie in the domains of consistency and now constancy. I've no idea of where IBM next month, let alone a quarter or refresh cycle. I'm pretty sure they have no idea either.

    3. W. Anderson

      Unprejudiced software support is good reason for IBM consideration.

      One thing IBM is doing right is providing "complete and strong" support for Redhat, Suse Enterprise and Ubuntu Linux on Powr9 servers, that both HP and Dell omit, directing customers get any Linux support from Linux vendors instead..

      In past year, several small businesses, including a three location Pharmacy, a small private college (two thousand students), and an International Trading organization were strongly discouraged by both HP and Dell business sales teams form using Linux on their servers, even denigrating use of Linux in comparison to Windows Server, for which these companies partner with Microsoft.

      What better reason to purchase from vendor/Manufacturer that supports best solution for client.

  2. Jim O'Reilly
    Holmes

    What's the price?

    I hate these hype pieces. The issue isn't if Power is 10%, 20% or even 100% faster. It's $$$/thought in AI that matters, so two X86 with GPU accelerators may still trounce a Power unit but still be 1/2 the cost.

    Anyway, this isn't really about the CPU engine. The real speed-ups are in NVMe and NVMe over InfiniBand. Here, the playing field with X86 is level ... both can have Mellanox NICs!

  3. Nick 6

    Too much, too late

    Meanwhile, the world has been using x86 and NVIDIA for machine learning for a few years, and long ago dumped proprietary UNIX. The appetite for switching horses will be low for much of the community, even when they give away a few of these to major research groups. And IBM's long advertised cognitive power house has not really delivered in the fields which they have gone after.

  4. Nimby
    Facepalm

    Benchmark = Facepalm

    Most new-product benchmarks are just paper tigers to pretty up the marketing hype machine, so I am not in any way surprised here. That the benchmark cannot even be fully described and reproduced is just par for that particular course. I am disappointed that x86 was even mentioned, at all, anywhere, as none of this has anything to do with the x86 protocol. And then there is the obvious moment of stupidity as we basically boil things down to a home-brewed tailored prototype is better than a generic Commercial-Off-The-Shelf product meant for anyone to use. Yeah. No ____.

    Army of straw men meet bonfire, film at 11.

  5. Alpy

    And Watson runs on....

    .....x86?....

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