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IBM Power System S922: Rack Server Overview and Insight

By Drew Robb (Send Email)
Posted January 28, 2019


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Bottom line:

The IBM Power Systems S922 server is designed from the ground up for data intensive workloads like databases or analytics. It can support several key enterprise data-intensive scenarios, including mainstream applications, leading-edge HPC workloads and evolving artificial intelligence (AI) projects.

Customers seeking major compute power should know this key fact: POWER9 solutions are the basis of the world’s first and third fastest supercomputers, the U.S. Department of Energy’s Summit and Sierra installations.

IBM Power servers tend to have a higher cost of entry than x86 machines. However, according to a study by Quark + Lepton, IBM Power systems running IBM I software have 60% Lower Total Cost of Ownership than Windows/SQL Server or X86 based Oracle systems. IBM’s pitch is that there are limits to what commodity architectures can do.

However, if you expect surges in demand and don’t have room for downtime, licensing fees, or occasional crashes a more robust enterprise architecture may be required.

Product description:

The S922 is a 1 or 2 socket server that offers a wide variety of core configurations and up to 4 TB of memory. Chip core speeds on the 4-core are 2.8 to 3.8GHz, on the 8 core are 3.4 to 3.9 GHz and on the 10 core are 2.9 to 3.8 GHz. The single socket version provides up to 6 PCIe ( 2 x Gen4 and 4 x Gen3) slots and the two socket version provides up to 9 slots (3 more Gen4 slots). One slot is used by a mandatory Ethernet adapter. Depending on what is attached, up to three of those slots may be reserved for other purposes. IBM i is only supported on the 6 cores and 8 core processors and is limited to 4 cores of IBM i with a software tier of P10.

Power Systems are known for their RAS (resiliency, availability, serviceability) features. IBM POWER9-based systems are said to deliver up to 10X faster bandwidth acceleration and 50% greater memory bandwidth than comparable x86 solutions. They also support the latest in data transfer technologies, including PCIe 4.0 and novel NVLink and OpenCAPI interfaces. This new server generation comes along with twice the memory footprint than POWER8. Changes in the memory subsystem and the use of the latest DIMMs enhance price/performance.

Features:

Number of processors:

Up to 2

Processors supported:

IBM POWER9 Scale-Out SMT8 processor (12-core, 10-core, 8-core, 4-core offerings)

Cores per processor:

4, 8,10 cores per socket

Maximum processor frequency/cache:

3.9 GHz/512k L2 and 10 MB L3

I/O expansion slots:

The single socket version provides up to 6 PCIe ( 2 x Gen4 and 4 x Gen3) slots and the two socket version provides up to 9 slots (3 more Gen4 slots). One slot is used by a mandatory Ethernet adapter. Depending on what is attached, up to three of those slots may be reserved for other purposes.

One front USB 3.0 ports – Two rear USB 3.0 ports – Two HMC 1 GbE RJ45 ports – One system port with RJ45 connector – 1x USB 3.0 front, 2x USB 3.0 rear, 2x HMC 1 GB Eth RJ45 ports, one system port with RJ45 connector, 2x High Speed 25 Gb/s ports

Maximum memory/# slots/speed:

up to 4 TB/32 IS RDIMM slots/up to 2666 Mhz

Maximum Persistent Memory:

NA 

Storage controller:

S922/S924 has two internal direct attached storage connectors, an NVMe card and a SAS card

Support:

The Electronic Services web portal is a single internet entry point that replaces the multiple entry points traditionally used to access IBM internet services and support. This web portal enables you to gain easier access to IBM resources for assistance in resolving technical problems. The newly improved My Systems and Premium Search functions make it even easier for Electronic Service Agent-enabled clients to track system inventory and find pertinent fixes.

My Systems provides valuable reports of installed hardware and software using information collected from the systems by IBM Electronic Service Agent. Reports are available for any system associated with the client's IBMid. Premium Search combines the function of search and the value of Electronic Service Agent information, providing advanced search of the technical support knowledgebase.

“It is a clear choice if you already have an established IBM AIX environment and need to sustain compatibility and maintain performance. There are comparable options now which may be able to get you to 3 nines for 1/2 the costs,” said a Senior Manager of IT in the manufacturing industry. 

Key markets and use cases:

IBM Power Systems S922 server easily integrates into an organization’s cloud & cognitive strategy and delivers superior price performance for mission critical workloads.

POWER9 is designed from the ground up for data intensive workloads like databases or analytics

Price:

20 core, 512 GB, $37,222. The software is expensive.

“It is a product with high performance, efficiency and economic indices in the IT market,” said an Applications Engineering in the Education Industry. "Deployment is very easy, but took more than three months. It proved inexpensive in the long run.”

Server

IBM Power S922

Max Processor Frequency

3.9 GHz/512k L2 and 10 MB L3

Max Persistent Memory

N/A

Form Factor

2U

Max Processors

2 POWER9 Scale-Out SMT8

Max Memory

4 TB

Max Storage

4 TB

Price

$37,222

Key Differentiator

Top processing power

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