Earth Shattering I/O Performance for IBM Power9 servers


The world’s most demanding applications are requiring increasing amounts of compute power to handle the resource-intensive demands of workloads such as artificial intelligence and machine learning. IBM, with the debut of its latest generation Power9 chip in its new server portfolio, aims to take an industry leadership role in shaping how next generation computing will unfold. IBM’s Power9 processor is literally the Swiss Army knife of Machine Learning acceleration as it supports an astronomical amount of IO and bandwidth, and 10X of anything that is out there today.

One of the most intriguing aspects of the new Power9 servers is its attention to the I/O subsystem. The Power9 chip and servers will be the first to get to the I/O bus, the Gen4 Peripheral Component Interconnect Express. IBM will have Gen4 before anyone else in the industry, and that’s going to create a lot of value for clients. The new bus will have more bandwidth than all prior generations and allows Mellanox to be the industry leader in providing the highest performance Gen 4 interconnect solutions for the fastest IBM Power9 servers on the planet!

Another key new capability of IBM’s new Power9 architecture is found in the new Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI) bus, which will attach to advanced generations of new storage class memories, along with new accelerators, such as field programmable gate arrays. This particular innovation is important, considering where computers are going and the increasing role accelerators and advanced memories will play. Recently, we at Mellanox announced the Innova-2 product family of FPGA-based smart network adapters. Innova-2 is the industry leading programmable adapter designed for a wide range of applications, including security, cloud, Big Data, deep learning, NFV and high performance computing.

The Innova-2 product line brings new levels of acceleration to Mellanox intelligent interconnect solutions and helps equip customers with new capabilities to develop their own innovative solutions, whether related to security, big-data analytics, deep learning training and inferencing, cloud or other applications. The solution also allows customers to achieve unprecedented performance and flexibility for the most demanding market needs.

The Innova-2 family of dual-port Ethernet and InfiniBand network adapters supports network speeds of 10, 25, 40, 50 and 100Gb/s, while the PCIe Gen4 and OpenCAPI (Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface) host connections offer low-latency and high-bandwidth. Innova-2 allows flexible usage models, with transparent accelerations using Bump-in-the-Wire or Look-Aside architectures.

In order for systems to truly deliver differentiated and enhanced performance, they must be designed differently. They need advanced I/O busses with better bandwidth and latency features to deliver performance to the workload. Power9 servers from IBM is showcasing advanced I/O busses, inventing new CAPI I/O busses and partnering with market leaders such as Mellanox to provide a high-performance attach of end-to-end smart interconnect solutions for data center servers and storage systems.

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About John Biebelhausen

John Biebelhausen is Director, OEM Marketing at Mellanox Technologies, Inc. Before joining Mellanox, John had an extensive career as a Marketing Executive in a range of technology companies including IBM, Lenovo, Dell and Sharp Labs. John was a founder in multiple start-up companies pioneering Direct Relationship Marketing and SaaS applications. John holds a MS of Science in Finance from Colorado State University and a BBA in Economics and Finance from Kent State University.

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