The Power 9 is a 14nm chip and still manages to pack twelve to twenty-four cores and some revolutionary IO technologies such as NV link and dominate the AI/Cognitive scores compared to the competition. IBM's partnership with Nvidia on the GPU side make for a great enterprise play.
Power 10 at 10nm in 2020
The next generation technology, simply called Power 10, is expected in 10nm in 2020.There will be more than one solution that will launch between 2020 and 2022. The new architecture is expected to accommodate data intensive tasks and AI workloads. The number of cores will double from 24 to 48 and we’ve seen these trends with some other server players. Advancements are expected on the IO front too. OpenCAPI 4.0 is part of the specification as well as the future NV Link, most likely NV Link 3.0.
The reason behind this massive increase of bandwidth need in IBM Power systems is rather simple. Higher bandwidth is needed to feed the GPU based Artificial Intelligence accelerator/frameworks in order to get faster results.
Focus on future AI workloads
Neural Networks today are beginning to assume massive proportions and they will only get even bigger in the course of 2020. Bear in mind that 2020 is just five quarters away, so it is not a distant future.
Intel is expected to have 10nm server products in 2020, but the tiny player that goes under the name of AMD is expected to have 48 core 7nm in 2019. But it is unlikely that AMD can capture much marketshare from either IBM or Intel. Their customers are loyal for the most part, at least the large corporations are, and while AMD is always a potential risk in the long term scale, and comes up with a competitive product once in a while, its ability to repeat the success consistently is in question.
I/O performance lead meets infrastructure
IBM is very vocal about the fact that infrastructure matters and having a combination of Power processors, acceleration via latest greatest PCIe, OpenCAPI, NVLink and persistent memory pays off. The solutions that IBM is trying to address with Power 9 and later with Power 10 includes machine and deep learning, Power AI, AI Vision, GPU databases, open source data bases and memory analytics.
The system software available to cope with the combination of IBM Power hardware and workloads includes AIX, I for businesses, Linux, Power VM, Power VC, KVM, OpenStack, Power SC and Power HA.
Even with the existing Power 9 architecture, IBM delivers 2X performance per core compared to a X86 Xeon S, 2.6 times memory per socket and 1.8 times memory bandwidth per socket. This is not all, as Power 9 offers 2X I/O bandwidth an twice the performance in Crypto engines.
IBM targets incredibly large customers from governments, large banks, oil and gas, energy and utility, public safety and healthcare, just for starters. Their customers don’t easily shift from one architecture to another as they want a reliable system together with great software stack that always works. That is what Power 9 and the future Power 10 are all about, claims IBM.