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IBM Brings More POWER to Linux

By Sean Michael Kerner (Send Email)
Posted July 30, 2013


IBM's Power 750 server is getting a new Linux flavor. The PowerLinux 7R4 is a 4-socket, 32-core system that serves as the Linux version of the Power 750.

The Power 750 servers are notable for a number of reasons, not the least of which is the fact that they are the system IBM's Watson artificial intelligence system is built on. While Watson runs on Linux, IBM's 7R4 is something a little bit different.

IBM Power Systems "Watson does runs Linux and is based on commercially-available Power 750 servers, which can also run AIX and IBM i," Chuck Bryan, Team Leader, Power Systems, told ServerWatch.

"What we are announcing today," Bryan continued, "is a Linux-only version based on the same technology as the Power 750 building block."

Linux on Power is not a new phenomena; in fact, Linux has been running on the Power Systems family for over 10 years. IBM's PowerVM virtualization system supports Linux as well as AIX and IBM i.

"The PowerLinux 7R4 takes advantage of the same PowerVM virtualization that is available on all Power Systems running Linux today," Bryan said. "And as you may remember from Red Hat Summit, we’ve also announced intentions to make KVM available on PowerLinux in 2014."

With 4 sockets and 32 cores, the PowerLinux 7R4 is the most powerful of the three Linux-only offerings in the IBM PowerLinux portfolio. The 7R4 joins the single-socket 7R1 and the dual-socket 7R2.

"On top of that, Linux runs across the full portfolio of Power Systems servers, from Power 710 to Power 795, as well as the IBM FlexSystem Power-based compute nodes," Bryan remarked.

From a competitive perspective, Bryan stated that IBM has priced the PowerLinux 7R4 to match pricing of comparable x86 offerings.

"It's about choice, but more so it's about the data-centric, compute-intensive workloads, like database and big data analytics on Linux," Bryan said. "We are seeing more clients choosing our higher-value Power Systems that have been built to handle mission-critical applications and workloads."

EnterpriseDB

As part of the 7R4 rollout, IBM is also announcing a partnership with database vendor EntepriseDB and its Postgres Advanced Server platform.

"Clients are asking for an open source-based database that provides the performance, scalability and security for database workloads that enterprises require," Bryan stated. "Based on the strong partnership and EnterpriseDB’s 1300 commercial clients today, this extends on our relationship with EnterpriseDB and provides our clients with additional Linux database options on Power Systems."

The Postgres Plus Advanced Server provides the open source PostgreSQL database along with commercial elements that enable Oracle database compatibility.

"The Oracle compatibility that EnterpriseDB provides is very compelling for clients looking for an alternative to avoid vendor lock-in," Bryan said. "Oracle 10G is available for the Power 7R4 but Oracle 11G is not."


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

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