So as to be able to compare IBM's revenues from Intel and Power server lines, I went back through IBM's press releases to get these numbers.
Q1/11 Q2/11 Q3/11 Q4/11 Q1/12 Q2/12 Q3/12 Q4/12 Q1/13 Q2/13 Q3/13
Power +19% +12% +15% +6% 0% -7% -3% -19% -32% -25% -38%
System x +13% +15% +1% -2% 0% -8% -5% -2% -9% -11% -18%
IBM Server News: Linux & Power8IBM is expected to announce at the Linuxcon 2013 conference in New Orleans, that it is pledging to invest $1bn in Linux and other open source technologies for its Power system servers. The company will also grow its Power Systems cloud, which lets developers remotely access Power, AIX, and IBM i gear on which to prototype, build, port, and test Linux apps.
In May 2012, IBM introduced its first Linux-only Power Systems, the Power 7 rack and blade servers. Then, this year, IBM introduced a new high-end Power Linux system, 7R4 server. This was quickly followed by IBM porting Linux's native virtualization, KVM, to Power. IBM also announced its OpenPower Consortium with members Google and Nvidia to open up the Power chip family to other vendors.
IBM introduced its Power hardware to a world-wide audience on the game show Jeopardy where the Linux-based Watson supercomputer won.
The Power8 chip architecture has new technologies compared to its predecessors including the PCI-Express 3.0 protocol, shared memory and a new CAPI (Coherence Attach Processor Interface) for outside components to communicate with the CPU and other processing units. POWER8 is designed to be a massively multithreaded chip, capable of handling 96 hardware threads simultaneously.
IBM is building a Power Systems Linux Center in Montpellier, France, where developers will get access to Power chip and server technologies to develop and deploy Linux applications. The company already has similar centers in Beijing, New York and Austin, Texas.
IBM fellow and VP of Power Development Brad McCredie explains, "The era of big data calls for a new approach to IT systems; one that is open, customizable, and designed from the ground up to handle big data and cloud workloads." Dan Frye, IBM's VP of Open Systems Development, said Linux on Power is meant for new big data, cloud computing, analytics, and datacenter customers. At the same time, Frye added, AIX won't be going anywhere. "AIX remains in place. The AIX customer base is loyal and it continue to sell, so the AIX sales, technical support, and marketing team will be staying in place."
The 22nm POWER8 chip, with its 96 hardware threads, is 650mm² and requires 200 watts. By comparison, next year's Intel 22nm Xeon chips are to have a die size of 100 to 200mm², 2, 4, 6 or 8 cores at two threads per core with the four core chip burning 45 watts. The 2.7Ghz 12-core chip draws 130 watts of power, and the 2.4Ghz Xeon draws 115 watts of power.