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IBM will release its new Power9 processor chip in 2017

IBM will release its new Power9 processor chip next year. There’s a lot of promise with this new architecture regarding new technology, machine learning, and overall speed. It will support both Linux and Unix and be available with up to 24 cores, optimized for 2 sockets scale-out servers.

IBM expects their low-end Power9 servers to be over $6,000 in mid-2017. Other manufacturers may offer Power9 servers for less. Additionally, IBM will license Power9 schema to others to design and build custom chips. (IBM’s Power processors were exclusive to IBM servers prior to IBM partnering with the OpenPower Foundation in 2013.)

What will this mean for Intel’s x86? X86 is a favorite in data centers, including cloud based. Will overseas manufacturers churn them out as affordably as the x86 servers? Google has already expressed interest for Rackspace if Power9 offered a 20 percent savings on either performance or price.

Will software licensing be factored into any possible hardware upgrade?

  • Oracle offers a general 2 to 1 software licensing advantage to x86 technology over pSeries. Will the compute ability of Power9 be superior to two x86 cores and not be an issue?
  • IBM licensing does not offer an advantage to either hardware choice – x86 or pSeries. However, migrating to new hardware with IBM software may still change the core factor (PVUs per core).

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