The battle of servers is one which will only intensify as companies wrestle with data-intensive workloads. IBM, which is spearheading the cognitive computing revolution, has now beefed-up its POWER9 processor with an enhanced core and chip architecture which provides superior thread performance and higher throughput. The POWER9 processor is designed to meet the demands of today’s large-scale workloads and also meet the diverse computing needs of the cognitive era.
At a time when we are only hearing about Intel Xeon series dominating the datacentres, IBM has positioned its POWER9 servers for intensive AI-workloads with additional performance and price advantage. As server requirements undergo massive change with an increased emphasis on accelerated computing, IBM is trying to gain ground against the ubiquitous Xeon processors by creating an ecosystem of POWER partners. However, Intel’s heft in the data centre market is well-known. According to a Motley Fool report, the second-largest chipmaker makes its revenue from the data centre CPU market and the PC CPU market. The company controls around 99% of the data centre CPU market.
Now, in the modern server businesses, semiconductor giants are racing to pack as many features as they can to scale both price and performance. Just like IBM packed more features in its POWER9 chips and dramatically scaled compute performance, Intel did the same with its Skylake Xeon SPs rollout. On the other hand, IBM seems to have scored over its old rival Intel by positioning POWER9 processor as AI and cloud-ready. Tech analysts are saying that hooking up the IBM processor with GPU will create a super impressive performance.
How IBM Is Advancing Against Intel’s Xeon Family Of Processors
- IBM has strived hard to outperform Intel in the data centre market and the POWER9 processors are the most powerful competitors to Intel’s Xeon line.
- The highlight of IBM’s POWER processor release is a brand new core and chip architecture that the company has optimised for technical/HPC workloads, hyperscale, analytics and machine learning applications.
- IBM also scored another win with Google in their corner. In 2016 OpenPower Summit, Google announced that the majority of its infrastructure is on Power servers. According to an HPC Wire report, Google is also working with RackSpace on a new POWER9 server known as Zaius.
- The new POWER9 processor provides both accelerated and heterogeneous compute solutions, Brian Thompto, senior technical staff member for POWER Processor Design at IBM was cited in HPC Wire report.
- The company’s beefed-up server portfolio has been touted as the Swiss Army Knife for data-intensive workloads as it supports advanced generations of new storage class memories
- A Next Platform report indicates that IBM can meet or beat Intel on memory bandwidth per socket.
- According to the Mellanox tech blog post authored by John Biebelhausen, the POWER9 servers from IBM displays advanced I/O buses, inventing new CAPI I/O buses
- IBM is very aggressive with POWER today and has demonstrated it’s the perfect workhorse for AI intensive workloads by publishing benchmark reports
Intel’s Xeon Is At The Heart Of Data Centres
Meanwhile, Intel’s architecture has been the industry standard in data centres and their Xeon processors provide a platform for accelerated performance of compute, handle more data and also support advanced analytics functions. Intel’s Xeon processors have been at the heart of data centres and are known for greater data-crunching performance and also reduce latency for cloud applications.
Intel Xeon processors are known for their support for high-performance computing and delivering excellent performance for complex workloads. Earlier last year, the chipmaker launched the Xeon Scalable line which is based on its Skylake architecture in an attempt to corner a greater share of the data centre market. Intel’s Navin Shenoy, VP and general manager of the Data Centre group was cited as saying how the new line is a major advancement for the data centre world with the platform supporting a broader set of workloads, mainly self-driving and AI workloads.
The new Xeon Scalable line promised a quantum leap in performance with an increased focus on AI-intensive workloads. The platform also builds on traditional performance drivers such as enhanced memory, more cores and also more I/O. The chipmaker giant also integrated its Quick Assist technology to accelerate compute-intensive operations by reducing the size of data packets, a news report indicated. With new performance benchmarks, 16.5x over the previous generation of processors, Intel too is aggressively marketing its platform as AI ready.