IBM Launches Low Cost SMB Power Servers With Watson Tech

Smarter Computing IBM

Big Data for the masses on new IBM Power servers

IBM is launching a set of servers using its Power7+ processor, which uses technology from IBM’s Watson project to compete with Intel Xeon machines – and make Big Data analytics affordable for smaller businesses.

IBM Power 710 ExpressThe new Power servers use the latest version of IBM’s RISC architecture, called Power7+, which was launched last year. The servers will be fully revealed in a webcast at 11AM EST today  – and the price starts at $5,947 for the Power Express 710+ (the existing Power 710 is shown here).

Bringing Big Data to the masses?

“Big data and cloud technologies that were once only affordable to large enterprises are now available to the masses,” said Rod Adkins, a senior vice president in IBM’s systems and technology group (pictured below with a larger IBM PureServer).

IBM Pure Systems Rodney Adkins

The systems use technology from IBM’s Watsonthe system designed to understand human language and answer questions based on correlations between data. Large Watson implementations can sift 200 million pages of data before making an answer, and have appeared on Wall Street and in the US TV game show Jeopardy.

IBM says the new range is making this sort of technology available to small-to-medium businesses (SMBs) and its statement compared the 710 with servers from Oracle and HP – suggesting it is going up against the HP/Intel Itanium procesor and Oracle’s Solaris processors.

However, the aggressive pricing of the new servers suggest they are being set up as a challenge to servers powered by Intel’s Xeons (although IBM makes its own Xeon servers too.

The Power 7+ chips are made with a 32nm process and have eight cores, each with a 10MB cache.  Not all the cores are active in the lower-end chips, and they are packaged in a range of new servers from the Power 710+ to the Power 760+, according to published briefings.

The 710+ is a 2U high rack server, and has one socket. The 720+ is a one-socket server twice as thick at 4U, and can be rackmounted or in a tower chassis for branch offices. The 730+ has two sockets in a 2U rack unit, and the 740+ has two sockets, in a 4U unit, with up to 1TB of memory.

Outside the entry level, the 750+ fits four sockets in 5U or rack space, and the 760+ does the same thing with a faster clock speed.

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