IBM Unveils Servers Designed Specifically to Crunch Big Data in Record Time

By TC Doyle Comments
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IBM has unveiled a new family of powerful servers designed specifically to crunch through reams of "big data" in record time.

The new servers, unveiled Wednesday, leverage IBM’s latest microprocessor technology, the Power8 chip, plus technology from the OpenPOWER Foundation, which is a consortium of top tech vendors anchored by IBM itself. (The foundation counts 25 tech titans among its fold today, including Samsung, Hitachi, Google and Nvidia.)

The new servers are expected to be able to process large troves of data at speeds up to 50 times faster than commercial servers running commodity technology from Intel and others. Their launch culminates a $2.4 billion investment in new technology by IBM, and three-plus years worth of development that included leveraging hundreds of IBM patents, according to the company. The result of the work is some of the most sophisticated computing technology ever packed into a server platform. The new Power8 microchip, for example, measures just one square inch yet contains more than 4 billion microscopic transistors and more than 11 miles of high-speed copper wiring, according to IBM.

“This is the first truly disruptive advancement in high-end server technology in decades, with radical technology changes and the full support of an open server ecosystem that will seamlessly lead our clients into this world of massive data volumes and complexity," said Tom Rosamilia in a prepared statement. Rosamilia is a senior vice president with IBM’s Systems and Technology Group. “There no longer is a one-size-fits-all approach to scale out a data center. With our membership in the OpenPOWER Foundation, IBM’s POWER8 processor will become a catalyst for emerging applications and an open innovation platform."

The new technology will help companies in fields as diverse as health sciences, transportation, telecommunications and financials services leverage data in new ways. In a prepared statement, FIS, a provider of payment processing and banking solutions that manages critical financial data for thousands of companies around the world, said the new technology will help it provide improved security to customers.

“Power8’s secure-key cryptographic accelerator and cryptographic coprocessor functions, combined with FlashSystems’ enterprise-ready, extreme-performance and application latency reductions capability, provides an infrastructure that is critical to the success of today’s core banking application environments," said MaryEllen Adam, FIS, Senior Vice President of Large Financial Institutions Product Management.

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