In the drive toward becoming a digital enterprise and satisfying the needs of hyper-demanding customers, businesses find themselves attempting to achieve the near impossible. IDC believes that in order to successfully transform themselves toward the digital enterprise, businesses need compute platforms that can absorb any kind of market volatility, are secure without compromise, scale effortlessly while reducing the business’ physical and carbon footprints, provide the highest levels of resiliency, and can run real-time AI on vast numbers of transactions — all as part of a seamless hybrid cloud. IBM’s new enterprise-class IBM Power E1080 platform built with the Power10 processor delivers a range of innovations that address these requirements in interesting new ways.
The IBM Power E1080
The IBM Power E1080 is IBM’s first enterprise-class platform built with the Power10 processor. The system scales up to as many as 16 processors and is distinctly focused on top IT considerations for organizations that must meet the demands of the digital enterprise.
To make security persistent and penalty-free, IBM has built encryption into the Power10 processor. This allows data to be encrypted without compromising system performance. The system has further been equipped with additional security features to protect against return-oriented programming attacks, a technique in which an attacker can execute malicious code in the presence of security defenses. The Power E1080 provides advanced data protection with transparent memory encryption, the type of hardware-level security for data in use that confidential computing is based on, and features four times as many cryptographic encryption accelerators as its predecessor. Partitions on the platform have improved isolation, and the system is protected from future quantum-based threats with post quantum crypto (PQC), as well as fully homomorphic encryption (FHE), a technology in which inputs into the system don’t need to be decrypted. This means it can be run by an untrusted party without revealing those inputs.
IDC considers the enterprise-class Power family of servers as having AL4 — in other words, fully fault-tolerant and therefore providing 99.999% or greater availability. With Power10, the IBM Power E1080 goes a step further than its predecessor in delivering very high bandwidth and memory reliability, availability, and serviceability (RAS) with the new Open Memory Interface. The processor can automatically detect, isolate, and recover from soft errors without an outage or without relying on the operating system to manage faults and self-heal recoverable errors. The system also features enhanced concurrent repair capabilities such as inter-node sub miniature push-on (SMP) cables to reduce application downtime.
Scalability and Sustainability
In terms of scalability and sustainability, the IBM Power E1080 benefits tremendously from the fact that the Power family of servers is exceptionally well integrated from processor to firmware to OS to hardware, as these are all IBM components. The software and OpenShift container efficiency of the platform is exceptional, according to IBM. As a result, the platform, with the new Power10 processor, achieves 50% more performance in the same space and energy footprint as compared with the Power E980. This also translates to 33% lower energy consumption for the same workload, states IBM. The greater efficiency helps businesses to significantly reduce their carbon footprint and potentially consolidate workloads, saving on both hardware and software costs.
The Power E1080 supports three operating environments — AIX, IBM i, and Linux — on the same platform, and is designed to support businesses hybrid cloud adoption for all three operating environments. AIX is, of course, IBM’s comprehensively modernized Unix operating system that continues to be a preferred platform for the enterprise-class, scale-up Power platform. IBM i is IBM’s operating environment that integrates the database and other enterprise software into the operating system, greatly simplifying the platform’s management. For many midsize businesses, IBM i is the heart of their operations.
AIX and IBM i are extremely open-source-friendly, support modern and preferred developer languages, and are fully operated as a hybrid cloud. As with previous generations, the Power E1080, can also run entirely or partially on Linux with the same security, availability, and scalability features, representing an opportunity for businesses to move their transactional and analytical workloads to a fully open-source platform. The following IBM Power software components play an important role in enabling businesses to leverage their enterprise-grade Power platform with AIX, IBM i, and Linux for secure, highly available, cloud-based workload modernization:
IBM Power server workloads are virtualized, mobile, and fully cloud-enabled with PowerVM, which was recently enhanced with multiple new features, including Compression and Encryption of Live Partition Mobility (LPM) Data, meaning that when an active partition is migrated from one Power server to another, which occurs with zero downtime, the data will be automatically encrypted and compressed — an important security and performance feature.
PowerVC is the virtualization management tool that is built on OpenStack, simplifying the management of virtual resources in Power environments. The software has recently been improved with multiple new features, including an export/import capability to share VM images across datacenters.
PowerSC is the platform’s security portfolio, simplifying security and compliance management, featuring compliance automation, malware intrusion detection, patch management, and more. It has been enhanced with various features or even new offerings, including multifactor authentication (MFA) enablement, another important security feature. In general, security on IBM Power with AIX is achieved with a comprehensive solution that includes the processor, firmware, hypervisor, and the countless security features of the operating system itself to protect data at all levels.
IBM PowerHA and VM Recovery Manager HA and DR
PowerHA is a high-availability technology that helps provide near-continuous application availability and improves service reliability. It is a key contributor to IBM Enterprise Power being characterized as fault-tolerant (AL4) by IDC and has been improved with various features such as enhanced failover metrics and cross-cluster verification (for example, to compare a development with a test cluster). VM Recovery Manager (VMRM) is a simplified HA/ DR solution based on VM replication and restart that is operating system–agnostic and includes application monitoring agents such as for DB2, Oracle, and SAP HANA.
Cloud Management Console
The Cloud Management Console (CMC) provides a complete view on performance, inventory, and logging of on-premises and off-premises Power infrastructure. CMC is hosted on the IBM Cloud, thereby freeing businesses from having to maintain software to monitor their infrastructure and helping to simplify management of hybrid cloud deployments and to simplify the monitoring and management of their infrastructure. Enterprise Cloud Edition 2.0 brings together all of the key components of a simplified cloud management infrastructure on top of PowerVM, including PowerSC, MFA, PowerVC, CMC, VMRM, and Aspera. It enables rapid deployment and management of a private cloud; simplified security and compliance management; simplified high availability; and, accelerated large-file transfers across clouds. Enterprise Cloud 2.0 can be purchased with AIX 7.2 built in.
Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform
Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform enables scalable and secure automation of various aspects of enterprise IT operations, including resource provisioning, application life-cycle management, and network operations. It consists of Ansible Engine, Ansible Tower, and Ansible Hosted Services. All other products within the Red Hat portfolio can be integrated using the Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform. Red Hat Ansible Automation Platform enables consistency in the datacenter by providing programmatic methods to deploy, manage, and secure infrastructure resources.
Red Hat OpenShift
Red Hat OpenShift is an enterprise-grade, certified Kubernetes (a container orchestration) platform to build, deploy, and manage containerized applications. Red Hat OpenShift can be consumed as a fully managed service on different cloud providers, or customer-managed using Red Hat OpenShift Container Platform or Red Hat OpenShift Kubernetes Engine. It can be deployed on premises on bare metal servers, virtualization platforms (Red Hat Virtualization, VMware, or Red Hat OpenStack), or major cloud providers such as IBM Cloud, AWS, Google, or Azure. In addition, Red Hat Advanced Cluster Management for Kubernetes can be used to manage multiple Red Hat OpenShift clusters and applications from a single console, with built-in security policies, enabling customers on open hybrid cloud. Red Hat OpenShift is supported across IBM Power, IBM Z, and x86-based platforms and can be used with AIX, IBM i, and Linux.
IBM Cloud Paks
IBM Cloud Paks are increasingly popular software products prepackaged in containers and highly integrated into various OpenShift services for fast and easy deployment onto OpenShift. IBM Cloud Paks offer developer tools, data, and artificial intelligence services, and open-source middleware software. They run on the Red Hat OpenShift cloud platform. Some Cloud Paks that are particularly relevant for IBM Power are:
IBM states that the Power E1080 speeds up AI inferencing performance by an order of magnitude compared to its predecessor. This does not require any specialized hardware such as a coprocessor (GPU, FPGA, or ASIC). Instead, the inferencing takes place on a matrix math accelerator (MMA). Every core of the Power10 chip has a built-in MMA for efficiently performing matrix math operations. These operations have been optimized across a wide range of data types for various precisions, which are important for deep learning — from double precision and single precision to two types of half precision, including Bfloat-16 as well as Int-16, Int-8, and Int-4. AI inferencing performance has been infused into every layer of the processor. The L2 cache was quadrupled: the load store units and the SIMD doubled. This means that a transactional workload that has embedded AI components can run the transactions and the AI inferencing on the same Power10 processor without requiring a coprocessor. Inferencing on the chip also means that all the processor’s and system’s security features are available to protect the data that is being inferenced on. Furthermore, the platform is Open Neural Network Exchange– (ONNX-) friendly. ONNX is an open-source AI ecosystem of technology companies and research organizations working to establish open standards for representing AI algorithms and tools to promote innovation and collaboration in the AI sector. Businesses with IBM Power E1080 can bring ONNX models to the platform unchanged and run them, taking advantage of the platform’s RAS features during the inferencing.
With the new Power E1080 platform, IBM continues to drive businesses toward openness, hybrid cloud, AI, and sustainability in a highly secure, performant, and reliable platform.