back to article Big Blue levels up server sextet with POWER9 for IBM i, AIX, HANA, Linux

IBM is bashing out a set of go-faster POWER9 servers in the face of mounting competition from Xeon SP systems. After unveiling its glam AC922 AI server back in December, Big Blue has released six bread-and-butter POWER9 CPU-based 2U and 4U servers with one or two sockets. They have twice the memory, in general, of their POWER8 …

  1. Uncle Ron


    LOL. You're right. IBM does have a crappy website. My muffler shop has a better one. It is the result of layer upon layer of bureaucratic "checkers," with high-school kids doing the coding--I take that back, high-school kids would do a better job. I don't know who is doing theirs...

    The IBM site has numerous links that go nowhere, the worst search engine in all of the Earth (and probably beyond,) and it is DULL DULL DULL. I don't think it is too much to say it is useless.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Only thing I could find was a comparison of a Power8 server with an x86. On that the Power8 was a little under 2.5 x as fast as an equivalent (24 core) x86 machine from HP. The x86 was an "Ivy Bridge" generation processor.

    I would not be surprised to find that the new Power9 processor was around the same, around 2.5 x faster than the equivalent x86 server - and at something between 3 x to 5 x the price. I've long stopped using Power architecture, it was a great combination for serious workloads using Power and AIX, but one gets very tired of paying through the nose for it. One of the final straws was paying something like 5 x the cost for an extra network card in a Power machine. For a test we put it in an x86 machine and it worked showing it was essentially identical only almost exactly 5 x the price.

    Way back, say 20-25 years ago IBM had the possibility of having a real shot at dominating the low to mid-range server market with AIX and Power. Compared to the then relatively new Windows NT and x86 it was more powerful, more stable, and had better power user features. But to get seriously into the market they needed to compete on price as well, which would mean either chopping the prices for their highly profitable i line or differentiating by pricing essentially identical hardware at two very different prices between the AIX and i lines.

    IBM chose to keep their profits flowing from captive i customers and niche market their AIX/Linux machines. They are now a legacy competitor with almost insignificant market share. They may n ot have been able to replace Windows and Intel, but they never gave themselves a chance. Back in the late 1990's, the Power/AIX or Linux server was a very viable potential competitor, but the chance was missed.

    1. CrotchetyBOFH

      Definitely a niche, but one I'm glad someone is filling

      For midrange workloads like Oracle DBs, HANA, etc , we take advantage of that 2.5x performance of similarly kitted x86 servers in a different way. That means we can do with 8-10 cores, what it would take Intel kit 20-24 cores to do. When you're paying hundreds of thousands per core for licensing, that makes up the difference quite quickly.

      Add to that, the call-in and in-person support for Power is loads better than anyone's x86 support that I've used.

      Yes, you pay for it, but if you need it, it can't be beaten, and if you're making up the extra cost of hardware and support in savings on software licensing and support, it makes all the sense in the world.

      We're looking at upgrading current Power 7 based servers to Power 9 sooner than later.

  3. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Where are the Power9 Benchmarks?

    Interesting that POWER9 servers are now shipping yet there are no public benchmarks to prove IBM's performance claims? Something wrong?

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