IBM Unveils New POWER7 Systems To Manage Increasingly Data-Intensive Services

Unprecedented Scale for Emerging Industry Business Models, from Smart Electrical Grids to Real-time Analytics

ARMONK, N.Y. - 08 Feb 2010: IBM (NYSE: IBM) today announced new POWER7™ systems designed to manage the most demanding emerging applications, ranging from smart electrical grids to real-time analytics for financial markets.  The new systems incorporate a number of industry-unique technologies for the specialized demands of new applications and services that rely on processing an enormous number of concurrent transactions and data while analyzing that information in real time.

In addition, the new systems enable clients to manage current applications and services at less cost with technology breakthroughs in virtualization, energy savings, more cost-efficient use of memory, and better price performance. 

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IBM's new POWER7 systems, which build on the company's 12-point revenue share gains since 2004 in the $14 billion UNIX market (1), can manage millions of transactions in real time and analyze the associated volumes of data typical of emerging applications. A smart electrical grid requires per-the-minute data to deliver electricity where it is needed most, in real time, while helping customers monitor their energy consumption in real time to avoid or reduce usage during the most expensive peaks each day.  A major U.S. utility moving to a smart grid pilot is moving from processing less than one million meter reads per day in a traditional grid, to more than 85 million reads per day in a smart grid.  The utility needs to collect, analyze, and present all that information to its nearly five million customers in real time versus the overnight batch processing of a traditional electrical grid which delivers monthly billing statements. 

For example, eMeter, a leading maker of software that runs e-grids, uses IBM Power Systems™ to process the extreme amount of data that comes in from millions of smart meters while analyzing that information on the fly.

"eMeter ran a successful benchmark on IBM POWER6 systems for more than 20 million smart meters -- more than four-times scale of any other utilities industry benchmark," said Scott Smith, client business manager, eMeter. "We know that there are already markets in the world that are scaling significantly. Combining eMeter and IBM's POWER7 we are confident we can hit much higher numbers to meet their needs. 

POWER7 systems can also offer industry-leading return on investment though dramatic improvements in price/performance, energy savings and virtualization for server consolidation.The new systems can deliver four times the performance and four times the virtualization capability for the same price -- and are three to four times more energy efficient.(2) Additionally, the total cost of acquisition and ownership can be better than competitive systems.  For instance, the new IBM Power 750 Express currently delivers 71 percent better price for performance than Sun SPARC Enterprise T5440 server and more than 280 percent better than Sun SPARC Enterprise M5000 and M4000 servers. And the IBM Power 750 Express delivers more than 400 percent better price for performance than the HP Integrity rx7640 or the rx6600 servers. (3) 

Listen to a webcast with Cindy Farach-Carson, associate vice provost for Research at Rice University and a professor of biochemistry and cell biology. Dr. Farach-Carson discusses the role of computation in medical research.

Four New Power Systems
The new systems and management software include: 

 The Power 750 Express and 755  planned volume ship date is February 19 and the Power 770 and 780  planned volume availability is March 16. The IBM Systems Director Editions, supporting both POWER7 and POWER6 models, planned availability is March 5.    

IBM Power 755

IBM Power 755

Systems Optimized for Workload Performance and Maximum ROI
IBM has vastly increased the parallel processing capabilities of POWER7 systems -- integrated across hardware and software -- a key requirement for managing millions of concurrent transactions. As expected, the new Power Systems continue the history of IBM industry-leading transaction processing speed, optimized for database workloads, and also deliver a leap forward to “throughput” computing, optimized for running massive Internet workloads. 

These two computing methods, combined with superior analytics capabilities, are ideal for emerging business models where large amounts of data from sensors in electric grids, roads, or the supply chain, for example, can be connected to pools of POWER7 systems optimized for Internet workloads, then analyzed with analytics systems.  The three modes -- massive parallel processing, "throughput" computing, and analytics capabilities -- are all integrated and managed consistently with IBM Systems Director software.  The overall system can then manage other systems, storage and networking not only on POWER6 and POWER7 systems but also on IBM mainframes and x86-based System x servers -- providing a complete management framework including the advanced virtualization management of VMControl. 

IBM also dramatically increased the parallel processing capabilities of its middleware software, such as WebSphere®, DB2®, InfoSphere Warehouse and Cognos for managing Internet, data, transactions, and analytics to support POWER7 systems  -- with no need for clients or application providers to rewrite existing applications to exploit POWER7 advanced technologies. 

Innovative, Workload-Optimized Features
To manage the demands of emerging applications, and better manage traditional applications, the new POWER7 systems -- comprised of innovative and integrated hardware and software -- are designed with workload-optimizing technologies, such as: 

IBM Global Financing, the lending and leasing arm of IBM can help new and existing Power Systems users step up to the new POWER7 technology with flexible financing offerings that  include the upgrade, take-out and disposal of existing leased and owned servers regardless of manufacturer. For more information, visit:

About IBM Power Systems
IBM Power Systems run on the AIX, Linux and IBM i operating systems. For more information about IBM Power Systems visit: 

IBM is a trademark of IBM Corporation in the United States and/or other countries. All other company/product names and service marks may be trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective companies.UNIX is a registered trademark in the United States and other countries licensed exclusively through The Open Group.  Linux is a trademark of Linus Torvald. 

(1) Source:  IDC Worldwide Quarterly Server Tracker 

(2) Power System comparisons of performance and energy between POWER7-processor based systems and POWER6-processor based systems can be found at 

(3) Leading price for performance.

The SPECint_rate2006 results can be found at Competitive benchmark results stated above reflect results published on as of February 2, 2010. The comparison presented above is based on the best performing 4-socket RISC/EPIC servers currently shipping by IBM, HP and Sun respectively. SPECint_rate2006 results are: IBM Power 750 Express with 4 chips and 32 cores and four threads per core with a result of 1,010 peak. Sun SPARC Enterprise T5440 with 4 chips and 32 cores and eight threads per core with a result of 360 peak.  Sun SPARC Enterprise M5000 with 8 chips and 32 cores and 2 threads per core with a result of 296 peak. Sun SPARC Enterprise M4000 with 4 chips and 16 cores and 2 threads per core with a result of 152 peak. HP Integrity rx7640 with 8 chips and 16 cores and one thread per core with a result of 201 peak. HP Integrity rx6600 with 4 chips and 8 cores and one thread per core with a result of 102.

Prices for all systems configured similarly with processor type and number used for the SPECint_rate benchmark and with 4 GB or memory per processor core. Prices were estimated from vendor websites and are based on US List prices obtained on February 7, 2010.

Prices for Sun systems were estimated from Oracle Sun Shop website for Sun SPARC Enterprise servers: Sun SPARC Enterprise T5440 with 4 chips and 32 cores at 1.6GHz (32-cores total) with 128GB of memory.  Sun SPARC Enterprise M5000 with eight 2.53 GHz SPARC64 VII Quad-Core Processors (32-cores total) and 128 GB of memory. Sun SPARC Enterprise M4000 with four 2.53 GHz SPARC64 VII Quad-Core Processors (16 cores total) and 64 GB of memory.

Prices for HP systems above were estimated from HP website for HP Integrity servers and the online HP Configurator: HP Integrity rx6600 with four dual core 1.6GHz/24MB Itanium processors (8 cores total) and 32 GB of memory.  HP Integrity rx7640 with eight dual core 1.6 GHz/18MB Itanium processors (32-core total) and 128 GB of memory.

IBM prices for the Power 750 were based four 8-core 3.3 GHz POWER7 processor chips (32-cores total) with 128 GB of memory. Pricing and can be found on the IBM website at 

(4) Competitive comparisons for performance reflect results published as of February 4, 2010. The results are based on SPECint_rate2006 and can be found at (link resides outside POWER7 results to be submitted to SPEC by February 8, 2010. 

  • SPEC® and the benchmark names SPECrate®, SPECint®, and SPECjbb® are registered trademarks of the Standard Performance Evaluation Corporation. For the latest SPEC benchmark results, visit (link resides outside of

 (5)) Testing by IBM with a sample SAP ERP workload found up to a 65 percent increase in additional transactions/users could be handled by the same server which had previously been constrained by a limited memory configuration. 

(6) Based on IBM internal studies. Results for a single JVM. 

(7) based on sizing from 

(8))  All POWER7 systems support up to 10 virtual images per processor core, so the new Power 770 or 780 systems with up to 64-cores can support up to 640 virtual severs per system. The 1,000 virtual servers is in reference to the statement of direction also announced today that IBM plans to deliver a new high-end server in 2010 with up to 256 POWER7 processor cores, supporting 1000 virtual images, and is expected to dramatically improve high-end performance per-watt and performance per-square-foot, as it is designed to operate within the same physical footprint and energy envelope of the current 64-core Power 595 server. Additionally, the POWER7 high-end server is being enabled to support optional high-voltage DC power inputs to further increase its energy efficiency.

Related resources

Site links Images

A finished 300mm Power 7 processor wafer ready for testing.

IBM Test Engineer Michael Kulikowski with POWER7 Ceramic Module.

IBM Test Engineer Sara Lestage holds a 300mm Power 7 processor wafer next to a wafer test tool.

POWER7 chips are manufactured on round 300mm wafers, roughly the size of a small pizza, then diced into individual processors.

POWER7 ceramic module with a lid is shown here bottom side facing up. Each POWER7 processor contains eight cores, with four threads per core.

Chandler Wilkerson, Linux Server Architect at Rice University, checks on one of the new IBM POWER7 systems being used at the school for a variety of healthcare projects, including cancer research.

IBM POWER7 family of systems

IBM Power 780

IBM Power 770

IBM Power 755

IBM Power 750

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