IBM is expanding its lineup of POWER9 servers with a pair of new systems, the E950 and E980.
The new servers are being positioned by IBM as scale-up servers for the world’s largest enterprises. IBM first announced its POWER9-based servers in December 2017, alongside the launch of the AC922 system, which is the core compute component behind the world's most powerful supercomputer, Summit.
In contrast to the AC922, the E950 and E980 are not built for supercomputer use-cases. The E950 is a 4-socket, 4U server that can be packed with up four POWER9 processors with 12 cores.
The E950 can scale up to 16TB of DDR4 memory. According to IBM, up to 960 virtual machines can run on a single E950, thanks to IBM's Advanced Micro-Partitioning technology.
"The IBM Power E950 is the ideal foundation for a private cloud infrastructure able to power the large-scale, mission-critical applications you need to transform data into a competitive advantage," IBM stated in a data sheet.
The new E980 is a step up from the E950 and is delivered in a larger 5U chassis. While the E950 has up to four sockets and 48 cores, the E980 boasts up to sixteen sockets and 192 cores of POWER9 performance. On the memory front, the E980 supports up to 64 TB of RAM.
"The modular design of the IBM POWER® architecture in the Power E980 lets you grow capacity by activating additional processors and memory—permanently using CUoD (Capacity Upgrade on Demand), or temporarily using Elastic CoD (Capacity on Demand)," IBM's stated. "So you can deploy a single Power Systems node to take advantage of these processor and I/O performance improvements now, then expand seamlessly as loads dictate."
Both the E980 and the E950 run IBM's AIX as well as Linux. Overall, with both the E950 and E980 systems, IBM is taking aim at x86 on the high-end. According to IBM, POWER9 processors have four times the number of computing threads of x86 cores.
Sean Michael Kerner is a senior editor at ServerWatch and InternetNews.com. Follow him on Twitter @TechJournalist.