IBM develops 24-core power CPU mainly for Oracle databases • The Register

IBM has quietly announced that it is planning a 24-core Power 10 processor, apparently to enable one of its servers to run Oracle’s database in a cost-effective manner.

A December 13 hardware announcement revealed the chip in the following “General Direction Statement” about Big Blue’s Power S1014 technology-based server:

The registry has asked IBM to share details about the planned CPU and why it sees the need to develop one that conforms to the SE2 license. The IT giant hasn’t responded, although Oracle’s description of the SE2 licensing model goes a long way in explaining why Big Blue will build a processor for it. Oracle’s blurb states:

The Power S1014 is a single-socket 4U device that IBM offers with processor modules with four or eight Power10 cores.

The jump to 24 cores therefore means a significant boost in capacity for Oracle on Power users who opt for a pure single-core server without having to pay more for Big Red’s database.

IBM’s decision is reminiscent of Lenovo’s 2019 release of the ThinkSystem SR655 server – a machine that filled its single CPU socket with a 64-core AMD Epyc 7002, a time when Virtzilla licensed its wares per socket and only had a few server Microprocessors could keep up with the number of cores in the Epyc family. Buyers liked this idea because, on paper, a 64-core chip can handle more guests than fewer processors.

VMware didn’t like this idea so much and quickly changed its licenses so that CPUs with more than 32 cores counted as an additional socket in terms of licensing.

The difference in this case is that Oracle’s SE2 license allows for a higher core count without increased fees. VMware’s licenses didn’t when Lenovo made its Epyc move.

But Big Red takes great care in making sure it maximizes its customers’ revenue. Since the Power S1014 didn’t have a 24-core option at launch, it might well decide that tripling the core count is a more generous take on the SE2 license than intended, and tweak it.

If IBM responds to our request for more details on the promised silicon, we’ll update this story. ®

reservation emptor

Note that the SE2 license does not provide access to all Oracle database features. Oracle’s EE license provides access to more and more powerful features.

This makes IBM’s general direction a little odd: Why build a powerful CPU for a low-end database? Big Blue still hasn’t responded to our request…

https://www.theregister.com/2022/12/15/new_ibm_power_cpu_for_oracle/ IBM develops 24-core power CPU mainly for Oracle databases • The Register

Rick Schindler

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