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POWER8 Represents a Sea Change for IBM

IBM announced its first processor designed for data workloads. The POWER8 chip represents a sea change for IBM. It’s the first chip that’s optimized for big data and analytics, designed for better cloud economics and delivered on the world’s first open server ecosystem.

Today’s announcement is the culmination of several months of planning, according to Power Systems GM Doug Balog. Last year IBM announced Linux on Power technology, including porting centers and a $1 billion investment in the OS. The OpenPOWER Foundation was also announced as a way to reach new buyers and new markets with Power technology. In addition, earlier this year IBM announced Power technology was moving to SoftLayer—at first as part of Watson as a service and then under BlueMix software as a service.

“All of these actions that we’ve been taking since the middle of last year have been repositioning the Power business and seriously getting ready for the POWER8 systems launch,” Balog explains.

Optimized for big data and analytics, the processor combines the computing power, memory bandwidth and I/O in ways that are easier to consume and manage. The chip, and the Power Systems servers that run on it, are also designed for better cloud economics for scale-out infrastructures, price-performance advantages and security.

The world’s first open server ecosystem, the platform leverages Linux and open standards and revolutionizes the way IT is developed and delivered, according to IBM.

PowerKVM is a new technology that helps remove the barriers that might prevent companies from doing joint development of Linux applications on Intel as well as Linux on Power. The technology takes the KVM capability available in the open-source community for virtualizing server infrastructure and supports it on the Power platform.

Also new with the announcement, Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI) allows you to cache directly to the processor bus in the system. Balog calls it a “true differentiator to the Power platform.” CAPI helps accelerate new workloads on the platform.

To read the IBM news release on this announcement, check out To read about the technical specifications of the new systems, read “IBM Delivers With POWER8” from IBM Systems Magazine Technical Editor Rob McNelly.

Evelyn Hoover is the content director of IBM Systems magazine. She can be reached at



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