IBM on Wednesday lifted the curtain on what Big Blue claims is the world's fastest computer chip, the new zEnterprise 196 (z196) processor. Minus 10 million geek points to the first person who asks, "Yes, but can it run Crysis," or any variant.
What it can do is race along at 5.2GHz, the fastest stock clockspeed ever in the world of microprocessors. This server speed demon comes with 1.4 billion transistors packed onto a 512-square millimeter surface and was designed right here in the good ol' U.S. of A. (Poughkeepsie, New York) using IBM's 45nm SOI processor technology. It's a four-core part with embedded DRAM technology, which IBM says allows for dense DRAM caches, or components, on the same chips as high-speed microprocessors.
"This world record-breaking speed is necessary for businesses managing huge workloads, such as banks, retailers, especially as the world becomes increasingly more interconnected, data has grown beyond the world's storage capacity, and business transactions continue to skyrocket," IBM said.
IBM has poured $1.5 billion in research and development and over three years of collaboration with top clients around the world coming up with its zEnterprise technology.
This, in fact, is a revised version of the report. As per the original, Google was the company with the highest percentage of unpatched flaws in H1 2010. However, Google was quick to dispute IBM's claim that it had left 33 percent of critical and high-risk bugs in its software unpatched: “We learned after investigating that the 33% figure referred to a single unpatched vulnerability out of a total of three — and importantly, the one item that was considered unpatched was only mistakenly considered a security vulnerability due to a terminology mix-up. As a result, the true unpatched rate for these high-risk bugs is 0 out of 2, or 0%.”
But this wasn't the lone mistake in the original, which also erroneously rated Oracle-owned Sun as the vendor with the highest percentage of unpatched vulnerabilities in the first half of 2010. But that honor now belongs to Microsoft.
“After we released our trend report this week, we received feedback from two software vendors regarding the severity and remedy information for some of the vulnerabilities behind this chart,” IBM said in a blog post.“As a consequence of this feedback, we have manually reassessed the CVSS scoring, remedy information, and vendor information for every vulnerability that impacted the percentages that appear in this chart.”
IBM recently revealed some details of its new 5.2GHz microprocessor chip, but consumers shouldn't bother saving their pennies to get one. The z196, which will be at the heart of the company's new Z-series mainframes, will be an enterprise-only product. Even if you could convince them to sell you a mainframe, it would likely break the bank at around $1 million.
The z196 is using the CISC instructions set and packs 1.4 billion transistors onto a 512 square mm die. The z196 will have 64 Kbyte L1 instruction cache, 128-Kbyte L1 data cache, and 1.5-Mbyte L2 cache on each core. How many cores are we talking about in one mainframe? Oh, only up to 96 of them, that's all.
These new super-chips will be capable of running multiple operating systems on the mainframe in any combination, including z/OS, z/VM, z/VSE, Linux on System z , and z/TPF. In some ways, IBM is doing us a favor by keeping this chip out of the reach of the common geek. It may be too much computing power for any mere mortal to handle.
For the inevitable comedian who thinks he's being witty by posting a comment asking, "Yes, but can it run Crysis," the answer is, "Yes, it can, so go out and buy a dozen of them." That's wrong, of course, but IBM's latest Power7-based system does have what it takes to top the 10 million transactions per minute mark using the industry standard TPC performance benchmark, IBM says.
With a 10,366,245 tpmC score, IBM lays claim to the highest TPC-C benchmark result using a Power Systems configuration with its DB2 database software. According to IBM, that's more than twice as fast as HP's best result, and 35 percent better than what Oracle was able to achieve.
That's impressive, even if it isn't designed to run Crysis, or any other game for that matter. So who can use these systems?
"Smarter healthcare providers, cities, retailers, smarter energy grids, and financial systems, all require support for ever greater data volumes and transaction throughput," said Arvind Krishna, General Manager, IBM Information Management. "The results of this benchmark demonstrate how IBM innovations combine to deliver unprecedented performance and cost efficiency for data intensive applications. Not only can you scale to massive data volumes and transaction throughput, but you can do so economically in an energy efficient way."
The record breaking benchmark score was achieved using DB2 9.7 with a cluster of three IBM Power 780 servers, each one sporting 8 processors, 64 cores, and 256 threads.
IBM this week announced it has closed the acquisition of BigFix, Inc., a privately-held provider of high-performance enterprise systems and security management solutions.
"IBM is focused on delivering a simplified and automated approach to managing and securing the IT infrastructure," said Steve Robinson, general manager, IBM Security Solutions. "With BigFix software integrated with IBM software offerings, IBM clients will be able to more easily manage and secure their PCs and laptops, a complex task as the costs and risks associated with security threats continue to grow."
IBM said BigFix will be integrated into its Software Group and will help beef up Big Blue's automation portfolio. The closing comes just three weeks after IBM entered a definitive agreement to acquire BigFix. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
IBM on Thursday said its going to throw millions -- as in, $100 million -- into a new research initiative that will have IBM collaborating with clinicians to develop new technologies, scientific advancements, and businesses processes for healthcare and insurance providers.
"Improving the quality of healthcare requires more than just digitizing health data," said Chalapathy Neti, Global Lead, Healthcare Transformation at IBM Research. "In fact the proliferation of diagnostics technology has in many ways added another layer of complexity, making it more difficult to gain valuable insights for patient care. Enabling greater coordination between care providers and transforming data into clinical decision intelligence could improve patient outcomes and help lower costs of healthcare today."
The money will be doled out over the next three years with a focus on three main areas. These will include evidence generation, streamlining the healthcare delivery process to improve service quality, and new incentives and models to reward patient outcomes rather than only treatment and volume of care.
IBM now holds the world record for the highest SPECjbb 2005 benchmark ever achieved by a two-socket, x86 server, and Big Blue wants the whole world to know about it. You'll have to excuse us if we help them out a little.
A pretty remarkable feat, IBM's System x3690 X5 server clocked 1,015,260 business operations per second on the popular benchmark, which is used to evaluate performance of servers running typical Java applications. The benchmark record also gives IBM more ammunition to market its x3690 X5, which according to Big Blue is the only scalable two-socket server designed to support critical enterprise applications and external memory expansion.
Market research firm IDC crunched the numbers and determined that IBM is the market share leader in Social Platforms, at least in terms of total software revenue.
According to the report, which IBM is plenty eager to share with anyone who will listen, worldwide revenue for the social platforms market climbed to nearly $370 million in 2009, representing a growth rate of over 55 percent.
"Social software helps enterprises define their collaboration agenda," said Alistair Rennie, general manager, IBM Lotus Software. "The use of social software can transform the way people work increasing the speed of business."
As far as IDC is concerned, the social platforms market includes IBM Lotus Connections, as well as its cloud-based LotusLive Connections toolset, IBM said.
Sometimes wars come down to alliances, and in the browser war, Mozilla now has IBM in its corner, says Bob Sutor, VP of Linux and Open Source at IBM.
"Some of the software we all use shouldn’t surprise you since we make it, such as Lotus Notes, Lotus Sametime, and Lotus Symphony," Sutor wrote in a blog post. "We’re officially adding a new piece of software to the list of default common applications we expect employees to use, and that’s the Mozilla Firefox browser.
"Firefox has been around for years, of course. Today we already have thousands of employees using it on Linux, Mac, and Windows laptops and desktops, but we’re going to be adding thousands more users to the rolls."
Sutor listed out several reasons why he himself prefers Firefox over the competition, chief among them that "Firefox is stunningly standards compliant, and interoperability via open standards is key to IBM's strategy." Sutor also praised Firefox for its security and extensible nature, or in other words the very same reasons why it's been such a hit on the consumer side.
It's said that breaking up is hard to do, but have you ever had an ex take you to court to prevent you from seeing someone else? That's not uncommon in the business world, and as former IBM senior executive Joanne Olsen is finding out, breaking up is indeed hard to do.
After serving 31 years with IBM, Oracle managed to dangle a big enough carrot in front of Olsen to lure her away from IBM just as the rivalry between the two companies hit an all time high following Oracle's $5.6 billion buyout of Sun Microsystems. The move has IBM crying foul, which contends that Olsen has violated the terms of the non-competition agreement she signed with IBM. Under terms of the agreement, Olsen must wait a year after leaving IBM before rendering services for a competitor.
"Joanne Olsen possesses valuable confidential information about IBM and our operations. As a result, she cannot undertake a senior position at Oracle without violating her obligations to IBM," said IBM spokesman Doug Shelton.
Olsen, Oracle, and each one's legal team has yet to respond to the accusations.