Indian IT and outsourcing giant Tech Mahindra is collaborating with IBM to introduce the latest generation of its processors into more data centers.

The company said it is helping customers migrate their “most demanding workloads” onto new Power9 CPUs, officially launched in December 2017.

“Our collaboration with Tech Mahindra will facilitate rapid migrations to IBM Power Systems that will help clients build successful digital transformation initiatives in a multi-cloud world,” said Steve Sibley, IBM vice-president for Cognitive Systems.

Tech Mahindra’s vocal support for Power9 follows similar moves from other industry players including Google, Rackspace and Nutanix.

Looking for customers

IBM pilgrimage
– Sebastian Moss

Power9 is the latest in a family of processors dating back to the late eighties. Like designs from ARM, these CPUs are based on Reduced Instruction Set Computing (RISC) architecture - an alternative to the x86 instruction set that dominates the server market.

Power9 chips support the latest processor features like PCIe 4.0 and OpenCAPI 2.0, and are being positioned as the perfect fit for compute-intensive AI and deep learning workloads.

At the same time they also feature NVLink, a high-speed interconnect developed in partnership with Nvidia, making Power9 suitable for GPU-heavy tasks.

Power9 will be used for Summit and Sierra, two supercomputers comissioned by the US Department of Energy as part of the CORAL project - with Summit likely to become the world’s most powerful supercomputer when it launches.

Tech Mahindra said some of the early adopters of the latest crop of chips include a large Australian retailer and a large Asian telecom provider.

“We are proud to collaborate with IBM and leverage our long-term relationship to meet the expectations of customers and business goals for the IBM Power portfolio. The capabilities built with this enhanced relationship positions us to drive value to our joint customers,” said Pritam Parvatkar, SVP and global head of Strategic Technology Relationships at Tech Mahindra.

“Our new solutions powered by POWER9 Systems will further fuel growth of our hybrid cloud initiatives.”

Power9 might be the alternative but that doesn’t mean it will escape the chaos surrounding the recently discovered CPU vulnerabilities dubbed Meltdown and Spectre. “Additional exploits for other architectures are also known to exist. These include IBM System Z, Power8 (Big Endian and Little Endian), and Power9 (Little Endian),” posted Red Hat earlier this month.