IBM POWER9 Server Zaius Announced by Google and Rackspace

Friday Oct 14th 2016 by Sean Michael Kerner
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Latest IBM Power server benefits from multiple sets of new technologies.

The first big new IBM POWER9 server was announced by Google on October 14 as an evolution of the Barreleye server that Rackspace and Google have been talking about since April.

The first Barreleye servers made use of the IBM POWER8 Turismo Single-Chip Module (SCM), IBM Power9 Zaius Serverwhile the new Zaius / Barreleye G2 servers make use of IBM POWER9 LaGrange CPUs.

Two POWER9 CPUs can plug into a Zaius motherboard and each LaGrange CPU has support for up to 32 DIMM memory slots. Going a step further, the POWER9 CPUs can each support a set of 8 lanes NVLink/OpenCAPI interconnect at up to 25 Gbps.

OpenCAPI is a new effort to build an Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface and is supported by AMD, Google, Mellanox and Micron among the group's founding members. The promise of OpenCAPI is the 25 Gbps data rate, which is faster than the current maximum throughput on PCIe, which is 16 Gbps.

"OpenCAPI can advance the future of server design by enabling higher performance for data-intensive workloads and the emerging accelerator ecosystem," "Chris Johnson, Principal Engineer, Google, said in a statement.

In addition to making use of the IBM POWER9 LaGrange CPU and OpenCAPI, Zaius will also make use of new Baseboard Management Controller (BMC) technology.

"The Zaius BMC software is being developed using Open BMC, the framework for which we’ve released on GitHub," John Zipfel, Technical Program Manager at Google, wrote in a blog post. "Additionally, Zaius will support a PCIe Gen4 x16 OCP 2.0 mezzanine slot NIC."

The draft design of the Zaius has been shared with the Open Compute Platform (OCP) community and could become a standard future reference design.

Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist

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