Big Blue levels up server sextet with POWER9 for IBM i, AIX, HANA, Linux

Fighting the Xeon SP tide


IBM is bashing out a set of go-faster POWER9 servers in the face of mounting competition from Xeon SP systems.

After unveiling its glam AC922 AI server back in December, Big Blue has released six bread-and-butter POWER9 CPU-based 2U and 4U servers with one or two sockets. They have twice the memory, in general, of their POWER8 forebears, faster internal interconnects, and are pitched at three different OS/system software environments:

Server Cores Form Factor Base SW DDR4 Memory PCIe
L922 8/10/12 2U 1-2 socket Linux 4TB 5 x PCIe G4 (4 CAPI 2.0), 4 x PCIe G3
S914 4/6/8 4U 1 socket AIX, IBM i, Linux 1TB 2 x PCIe G4 (4 CAPI 2.0), 6 x PCIe G3
S922 4/8/10 2U 1-2 socket AIX, IBM i, Linux 4TB 5 x PCIe G4 (4 CAPI 2.0), 4 x PCIe G3
S924 8/10/12 4U 2 socket AIX, IBM i, Linux 4TB 5 x PCIe G4 (4 CAPI 2.0), 6 x PCIe G3
H922 4/8/10 2U 1-2 socket HANA (25% AIX/IBM i) 4TB 5 x PCIe G4 (4 CAPI 2.0), 6 x PCIe G3
H924 8/10/12 4U 2 socket HANA (25% AIX/IBM i) 4TB 5 x PCIe G4 (4 CAPI 2.0), 6 x PCIe G3

With the H922 and H924 products, a quarter of the cores can be assigned to AIX or the IBM i OS.

The PCIe gen 4 links double system IO over PCIe gen 3, and cabinet size affects the number of the links as it does the storage capacity:

  • L922 – 8 x SFF drives
  • S914 – 12 or 18 x SFF drives
  • S922 – 8 x SFF drives
  • S924 – 12 or 18 x SFF drives
  • H922 – 8 x SFF drives
  • H924 – 12 or 18 x SFF drives

Apart from the L992, the other five are capable of including internal RDX media, and support 4 x 400GB M.2 NVMe flash drives. The S914 comes in a tower form factor as well as 2U rackmount box, and its core count can be factory deconfigured if fewer cores are needed.

IBM_S922

IBM POWER9 S922 server box

IBM_S924

S924 server box

There's no obvious way of relating these servers to mainstream Xeon SP-based ones. No doubt benchmarks will emerge later this year.

Get copious IBM documentation, such as that for the H924 and S922 by Googling "IBM + <servername>" – that's much faster than trying to navigate Big Blue's opaque website for specific product information. ®

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