IBM claims world's most powerful server

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IBM claims world's most powerful server

System p5 595 described as a 64-core 'speed demon'.

System p5 595 described as a 64-core 'speed demon'.

IBM has introduced a pair of high-end Unix boxes, one of which it claims is the world's most powerful server.

Big Blue describes its System p5 595 as a 64-core "speed demon capable of a record-shattering four million transactions per minute".

The new servers are built with 16-core units called 'books', each containing two 8-core multi-chip modules with four dual-core Power5+ processor chips.

Processor clock speeds available on the 64-core p5-595 are 2.3GHz or 2.1GHz, while the 32-core p5-590 offers 2.1GHz processors. Each processor chip contains 1.9MB of Level 2 cache and an integrated memory controller.

The bigger of the two IBM servers, the 64-core p5-595 running a single instance of the IBM DB2 9 data server on the AIX 5L operating system and using IBM System Storage DS4800, processed 4,016,222 transactions per minute on the TPC-C benchmark.

According to the firm, the System p5 machines' performance gains are largely due to the incorporation of IBM's newly developed Dual Stress processor technology pioneered for ultra-fast video games.

Introduced late last year, Dual Stress solves a "fundamental conundrum of physics that had vexed processor designers since the dawn of the semiconductor industry", IBM claimed.

The firm's scientists discovered a method of simultaneously stretching and compressing the silicon designed to result in up to a 24 per cent transistor speed increase, at the same power levels, compared to similar transistors produced without the technology. Dual Stress can also be used to lower power consumption.

"The new system is the first to combine immense power and linear scaling with the ability to create virtualised environments that map business functions with IT assets," said Ross A. Mauri, general manager at IBM System P.

The new systems support IBM's Virtualisation Engine technology to accommodate up to 10 virtual servers, or partitions, per processor core enabling clients to consolidate multiple systems and distributed applications.

IBM also announced IBM Tivoli Usage and Accounting Manager which allows IT departments and outsourcing vendors to monitor and bill for individual use of server resources in the same way that utility companies charge for electricity and water.
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