IBM on Wednesday took the cover off new technologies that aim to help enterprises beef up security, leverage cloud computing, and analyze large volumes of data. The new products include a Power Systems update, a new high-end disk storage system and software updates for IBM's newest mainframe computer. It all fits into Big Blue's Smarter Computing platform.
Front and center in the announcement is a new Power Systems lineup with the Power7+ microprocessor, which promises performance bumps of 30 percent to 40 percent on app workloads compared with previous versions. IBM said it invested $1.4 billion in R&D around the product, which includes new hardware and software innovations in the Power 770, Power 780 and Power 795 models.
The Power7+ offers an expanded 2.5x L3 cache memory, better security with faster file encryption for the IBM AIX operating system, and memory compression that doesn't increase the energy usage over previous Power7 chips. The top-of-the-line Power 795, for example, lets enterprises run business analytics quickly by tapping up to 16 terabytes of memory with new 64-GB DIMMs.
We asked Charles King, principal analyst at Pund-IT, to analyze the new products. He told us IBM is aiming to help enterprise customers successfully contend with and take full advantage of three critical IT trends: cloud computing, analytics and security.
"At one level, cloud is simply a broader, cross-data center implementation of the IT asset pooling, distribution and management functions that have been common in enterprise-class systems for many years," King said. "That said, CIOs recognize how cloud can help improve IT efficiency and agility. But they also believe cloud can drive innovative collaboration and customer engagements."
King also noted that analytics and business intelligence are crucial to organizations' success, but the continually growing volume and complexity of business data means that companies need new ways to manage and use that information. Data that is not fully leveraged translates directly into lost revenues and opportunities, so many managers consider analytics solutions essential to improving and increasing data availability, access and value.
Truly Smarter Computing
"Since business information qualifies as the 'crown jewels' of virtually every enterprise, it is a prime target for numerous interested and unfriendly parties, including common hackers, industrial brigands, organized criminals and institutional thieves," King said. "It is obviously important for organizations to protect information because of its monetary value, but lost or compromised data can also grievously harm a company's reputation and business relationships."
Overall, King said IBM's latest Power7+ servers, along with the new DS8870 storage and other just-announced products, are valuable additions to the company's enterprise systems solution portfolio.
At the same time, he said, these new offerings reflect IBM's Smarter Computing initiative, underlining the company's belief in the critical importance of its investments in cloud computing, analytics and security for its enterprise customers.