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4 Ways Power Systems Excels Over x86

Script & Seal, IBM advantage
Illustration by Script & Seal

Businesses are working to design better products and services than the competition, deliver a better customer experience and bring products to market at a more appealing price point. In short, they’re focused on increasing profit.

Some believe an x86 solution is the best way to do that but they’re ignoring strong evidence to the contrary. The economies of scale supported by the POWER8* generation of IBM Power Systems* technology can amount to millions of dollars in savings over just a few years compared to scale-out x86 solutions.

“[Power] enables you to get your workloads processed at a lower overall cost, and that’s what every organization wants.”
—Graham Spittle, vice president of IBM’s Competitive Project Office

Power* technology can improve business performance while simplifying operations and saving money. The POWER8* processor is designed specifically to support advanced workloads like big data and real-time analytics, essential to succeeding in business today and a clear advantage for IBM.

“Total cost of ownership versus cost of acquisition is the most important comparison here,” says Graham Spittle, vice president of IBM’s Competitive Project Office, a service designed to help IBM clients understand the economics of their IT shops. “It’s not just a matter of getting the cheapest of three bids, it’s really about deriving real business value.” To learn more, see “What Is the Competitive Project Office”.

Power Systems technology delivers that value by offering four specific advantages over its competition: performance, open-source offerings, consolidation and savings.

1. The Performance Advantage

With the emerging Internet of Things, organizations are awash in data. In a perfect world, they can rapidly leverage big data to deliver insights and actionable information to staffers at all levels. In the worst-case scenario, they fail to recognize the threat until the window of opportunity to respond has closed, whether that’s a motor that fails and shuts down an automobile assembly line for a day or a retail organization that alienates a customer, who responds with a viral social media attack.

Designed from top to bottom to tackle big data, the POWER8 server family features up to 12 cores per socket, each of which supports eight dynamic threads. That’s four times as many threads per core as the Intel* Haswell-EP processor, one of the latest x86 chips (see more in “By the Numbers: x86 vs. Power Systems,”). The level of simultaneous multithreading (SMT) is important because the basic technique for taming big data involves using tools like Hadoop to split terabyte-scale data sets into manageable subsets, and processing those subsets in parallel. After processing, the system recombines the results from each subset and delivers the final package to the end user. The greater the number of threads of execution, the more rapidly this process can take place. Because the POWER8 processor supports so many parallel threads of execution, it can deliver results from massive data sets in real time, even extracting key information from streaming data like Twitter feeds. Read “The Compelling Case for SMT8” for more on SMT.

Kristin Lewotsky is a freelance technology writer based in Amherst, N.H.

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