IBM Expands POWER8 Server Portfolio with Ubuntu Linux

by Sean Michael Kerner

New server systems and Data Engine solution bundles debut from Big Blue.

IBM today is expanding its POWER8 server lineup as part of the company's continuing effort to provide a competitive alternative Intel x86-based server systems.

The Power8 silicon and server system first debuted in April. One of the new systems is the IBM Power S824L server.POWER8 ubuntu

"The Power S824L is based on a two-socket 4U design that is all new for POWER8," Steve Sibley, Vice President of Power Systems at IBM, told ServerWatch.

IBM offers a choice of two different processors on the Power System S824L, with either two 10-core 3.42 GHz POWER8 processors or two 12-core 3.02 GHz POWER8 processors. The systems are able to support up to 1 TB of system memory.

IBM Introduces Ubuntu Linux in Power Systems

Interestingly, the Power S824L system is initially only available with Ubuntu Linux and not Red Hat or SUSE Linux. Sibley noted that IBM welcomed Ubuntu Linux in April 2014 to the ecosystem for Linux on Power Systems. He added that for the most part IBM clients can choose Ubuntu, Red Hat or SUSE, though that's not the case with the S824L server.

"This is the first GPU-based product in a Power System, and as such is built on little endian Linux only, offered only by Ubuntu at this time," Sibley said. "However, by using Ubuntu, clients have choice – Ubuntu is a growing Linux distribution for cloud environment."

The Power S824L includes an NVIDIA GPU adapter slot where customer can choose to deploy a GPU for additional processing capabilities.

"This system was built to take GPUs into the enterprise data center for acceleration of commercial workloads," Sibley said.

IBM is positioning the new system as a Big Data processing platform as well as one that has high-performance I/O.

"The system design of the S824L was uniquely architected to best leverage the Big Data capabilities of the POWER8 processor," Sibley said. "The same care to balance the processor to be optimized for Big Data workloads was extended to the system level with IO capabilities, CAPI enablement, and memory."

As part of the new POWER8 server rollout, IBM is also introducing what it refers to as IBM Data Engines. There is a Data Engine for NoSQL which includes a Power SystemS822L with Redis database software. There is also an IBM Data Engine for Analytics that includes platform computing software.

IBM has bundled servers and software together before in a solution stack known as PureSystems.

"IBM Data Engine is not intended to replace PureSystems," Sibley said. "IBM continues to sell and support the range of PureSystem offerings, including PureFlex, PureApplication System and the family of PureData Systems."

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

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This article was originally published on Friday Oct 3rd 2014
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