17th December 2021

Power10 brings major improvements to performance and what it means for companies running IBM i


Back in 2017, Power9 heralded a new chapter in IBM’s attempts to recapture the server market that they previously dominated. 

Its price trumped competitors while the performance from the 14 nanometre [nm] processor saw it being used in the Summit supercomputer, which held the top spot as the world’s fastest supercomputer from November 2018 to June 2020.

Power9 was, quite literally, a punch in the nose to its X86 based competitors.

Its ambition was matched by its price-to-performance ratio and many wondered how IBM could possibly follow-up on its success and if more power was even needed for the average IBM i shop.


Power10 packs a punch

Four years on and IBM is ready to write a new chapter, and as expected, with even more punch.  

Just like the Power9, the Power10 [E1080] Denali machine brings huge gains in performance over its predecessors.

This time, IBM has halved the processor node to 7nm and more than doubled the cores to 60

As such, depending upon specification Power10 cores can run up to 30% faster than the equivalent Power9.

And, unbelievably, up to 80% faster than Power8.  

Not only this, but the E1080 can scale up to 10 processors (making a maximum of 240 available cores and up to 64TB of memory. 


What all this power means for IBM i shops

This staggering level of server performance is all well and good but what do these gains mean for the IBM i shop? 

First, let’s understand what IBM sees as the marketplace opportunity for the Power10. 

Big Blue has specifically designed and priced the Power10 to compete with 4-socket and larger servers.

According to the introduction of IBM’s Power10 technical overview Red Book, the Power10:

“ introduces the essential enterprise hybrid cloud platform, which is uniquely designed to help you securely and efficiently scale core operational and artificial intelligence (AI) applications anywhere in a hybrid cloud.

“The Power E1080 simplifies end-to-end encryption and brings AI where your data is stored for faster insights. This configuration helps enable greater workload deployment flexibility and agility while accomplishing more work”.

Secondly, let’s talk about money. 

For the enterprise upgrading from an older machine, upping the performance means fewer core requirements for a similar workload on your incumbent machine. Fewer cores may mean you can repurpose or even reduce software licenses. 

And finally, let’s talk about the environment.

IBM’s Power10 offers a 50% lower carbon footprint over the same workload compared to Power8, and 33% compared to Power9, not only are you saving money but also the planet.


Indeed, IBM states that the cost per CPW (Commercial Processing Workload) continues to reduce.

For example, a decade ago the CPW cost on a Power7 [795] was $2.78, today’s equivalent on a Power10 is just $0.53.

So, on the Power10, for the same work we need less infrastructure and consume less power. But if you need more power and require greater scalability, Power10 has this in abundance too.  

Not only does Power10 provide next level (quantum-safe cryptography and fully homomorphic) encryption but ‘memory inception’ a feature that allows clusters of physical memory to be shared across a pool of systems.

In short, Power10 is a goliath.

It may well be the server architecture you’ve been waiting to upgrade to. 

Here are just some of the facts and figures on the Power10:

  • Up to 30% more performance per core compared to Power9 [80% more than Power8]
  • 3x more power efficient than Power9
  • Up to 50% more throughput for the same space and energy as Power9
  • 5.27 million units of aggregate performance as reported by IBM’s Commercial Performance Workload (CPW) online transaction processing benchmark test
  • Get more for your software investment with more throughput per core
  • Open Memory Interface provides 2x better memory reliability compared to DIMMS
  • Memory bandwidth is 2.6x higher than x86 equivalent
  • 2.5x performance per core than x86 Xeon platinum
  • 2.5x faster AES encryption of data at rest and in use over the Power E980
  • Power E1080 delivers 5X faster AI inferencing per socket over Power E980
  • Supported IBM i OS 7.3 [tr11] / 7.4 [tr5]

Learn more about Power 10 on the IBM website

Posted by Paul on 17th December 2021.