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IBM announces new Power9 processor based E950 E980 server systems

IBM announces new Power9 processor based E950 E980 server systems

IBM announces new Power9 processor based E950 E980 server systems.

IBM announces new Power9 processor based E950 E980 server systems.

As a single server or node, the Power9 E950 supports up to four (4) CPU processor sockets each with multiple cores. An E980 system comprises up to four E950 based systems as a solution. The new E950 succeeds Power E850 and E850C, its machine type model number is 9040-MR9 that is a 4U single enclosure with two or four processor modules.

IBM Power9
Power9 Processor image via IBM.com

IBM Power9 E950 and E980

As a refresher, leveraging IBMs proprietary processor chip technology called Power, which are used in their various mid-range and higher end server solutions.

The Power9 E950 and E980 systems support PowerVM virtualization, along with virtual machine (VM) mobility as well as optimization for OpenStack among other workloads.

IBM touts Power9 E950 (AIX and Linux) and E980 (AIX, Linux, I systems) optimized for:

  • Analytics, AI (ML/DL) and Cognitive computing
    • Faster cores and threads, more performance per socket
    • More bandwidth and lower latency
  • Super Compute (SC), Technical, High Performance Compute (HPC)
    • High bandwidth graphical processing unit (GPU) attachment
    • Optimized CPU GPU memory sharing and interaction
    • Bandwidth optimized main memory
    • Virtual addressing optimization
  • Cloud and Hyper Scale Data Infrastructures and Data Centers
    • Dense performance and energy consumption
    • Virtualization assist, QoS, power management and security
    • Fast I/O subsystem for server I/O to storage and networks
  • Enterprise data infrastructures and data centers
    • Scale-up and scale-out
    • Server and workload consolidation
    • Up to 4TB of buffered memory per socket (16TB per E950 node)

IBM E950 Power9 System

IBM Power9 E950
Front view of E950 System Image via IBM.com

The following image (via IBM.com) shows an exploded component view of the E950.
IBM Power9 E950 exploded view

The following image (via IBM.com) shows a top view looking down into an E950.

IBM Power9 E950 top view

E950 is a 4U server (or E980 node) with compute and memory features including:

  • Power9 8,10,11 or 12 cores per socket, up to 48 cores (4 x 12 cores)
  • Four times memory compared to E850 systems (up to 16TB or 4TB per socket)
  • Eight (8) memory riser cards with 16 DDR4 DIMM each (8,16,32,64 or 128GB DIMM)
  • Memory bandwidth of up to 920 GB/sec (note that is big B not Gb or little b)
  • Refresh your server, CPU, compute, socket, core and threads knowledge here.

E950 also features faster I/O subsystem for server I/O to storage and networks:

  • 630GB/sec (e.g. 5Tbpsec) I/O bandwidth
  • NVIDIA NVLink GPU attachment, PCIe Gen4 and OpenCAPI I/O
  • Up to eight (8) (4 socket systems) PCIe Gen4 x16 (16 lanes each) card slots
  • Up to two (2) PCIe Gen4 x8 (8 lanes each) card slots
  • Up to 144 PCIe lanes (4 socket systems), full height, half length
  • USB 3 (2 front, 2 rear)
  • 12 internal 2.5” form factor storage bays for HDD and SSDs including up to eight (8) SAS SAS, and four NVMe U.2 (8639). Note that NVMe devices attach via PCIe ports and lanes.
  • Hot plug components and optional I/O expansion as well as storage drawers
  • Here is a refresher (or primer) on PCIe, as well as NVMe, SAS, and SSD technologies.

IBM E980

The IBM E980 system is a collection of up to four nodes along with a control module, a cabinet rack E980 system is shown below (image via IBM.com).
IBM Power9 E980

IBM Power9 E950 E980
Via IBM.com

View more features for E950 here (PDF) and E980 here (PDF).

Where to learn more

Learn more about IBM Power and data infrastructures related topics via the following links:

Additional learning experiences along with common questions (and answers), as well as tips can be found in Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials book.

Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials Book SDDC

What this all means

These new systems provide increase in not only compute, also memory as well as server I/O for storage and networking. With the addition of multiple PCIe Gen4 x16 card slots, more GPUs such as those from NVIDIA as well as fast Fibre Channel, SAS and NVMe based storage can be attached to these systems.

With a good number of x16 PCIe Gen4 slots, the E950 and E980 systems are capable of supporting more GPU offload cards such as those from NVIDIA, along with other ASIC or FPGA accelerator devices. In addition to compute offload, the x16 PCIe Gen4 slots enable server I/O cards to more storage devices including faster Fibre Channel, Ethernet, SAS as well as NVMe attachment.


Overall, IBM announces new Power9 processor based E950 E980 server systems is a good move for existing customers of AIX, Linux as well as with the E980 for i systems.

Ok, nuff said, for now.

Cheers Gs

Greg Schulz - Microsoft MVP Cloud and Data Center Management, VMware vExpert 2010-2018. Author of Software Defined Data Infrastructure Essentials (CRC Press), as well as Cloud and Virtual Data Storage Networking (CRC Press), The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC Press), Resilient Storage Networks (Elsevier) and twitter @storageio. Courteous comments are welcome for consideration. First published on https://storageioblog.com any reproduction in whole, in part, with changes to content, without source attribution under title or without permission is forbidden.

All Comments, (C) and (TM) belong to their owners/posters, Other content (C) Copyright 2006-2018 Server StorageIO and UnlimitedIO. All Rights Reserved. StorageIO is a registered Trade Mark (TM) of Server StorageIO.

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More Stories By Greg Schulz

Greg Schulz is founder of the Server and StorageIO (StorageIO) Group, an IT industry analyst and consultancy firm. Greg has worked with various server operating systems along with storage and networking software tools, hardware and services. Greg has worked as a programmer, systems administrator, disaster recovery consultant, and storage and capacity planner for various IT organizations. He has worked for various vendors before joining an industry analyst firm and later forming StorageIO.

In addition to his analyst and consulting research duties, Schulz has published over a thousand articles, tips, reports and white papers and is a sought after popular speaker at events around the world. Greg is also author of the books Resilient Storage Network (Elsevier) and The Green and Virtual Data Center (CRC). His blog is at www.storageioblog.com and he can also be found on twitter @storageio.

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