Max Thread Room - IT Jungle

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For a lot of organizations that buy servers and create systems out of them, the overall throughput of each single machine is the most important performance metric they care about. But for a lot of IBM i shops and indeed even System z mainframe shops, the performance of a single core is the most important
Max Thread Room

Timothy Prickett Morgan

metric because most IBM i customers do not have very many cores at all. Some have only one, others have two, three, or four, and most do not have more than that although there are some very large Power Systems running IBM i. But that is on the order of thousands of customers against a base of 120,000 unique customers.

We are, therefore, particularly interested in how the performance of the future Power10 processors will stack up against the prior generations of Power processors at the single core level. It is hard to figure this out with any precision, but in its presentation in August at the Hot Chips conference, Big Blue gave us some clues that help us make a pretty good estimate of where the Power10 socket performance will be and we can work backwards from there to get a sense of where the Power10 cores could end up in terms of the Commercial Performance Workload (CPW) benchmark ratings that IBM uses to gauge the relative performance of IBM i systems.

Some review is in order to get an appreciation of the performance leaps IBM has been able to do in recent generations. With the move from the Power7+ to the Power8, the latter of which was launched in 2014, the raw integer performance at a socket level went up by a factor of 2.2X and performance on other commercial performance as gauged by TPC-C and other tests went up by about 2.7X and on Java workloads by a little more than 2.5X. These numbers were given out at Hot Chips in 2013. In 2016, a year before the Power9 chip was launched and when Big Blue was previewing the performance of the Power9 socket, IBM said the per socket performance of Power9 would be about 1.8X higher in terms of raw integer performance and a little bit higher for commercial applications. With Power10, compared to Power9, here is what Big Blue says to expect on a per socket basis in terms of performance:

Thanks to the increase in cores (from 12 in Power9 to 16 with Power10 but only 15 will be…
Timothy Prickett Morgan
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