Power10 Entry Machines: The Power S1022 And Power L1022
August 1, 2022 Timothy Prickett Morgan
This is third part of our in-depth coverage of the entry and midrange Power10 machines that Big Blue launched on July 12, which will focus on the Power S1022 and its Linux-only variant, the Power L1022. Not to be confused with the Power S1022s – that is a small “s” not a plural – that we covered last week.
We will cover the Power S1024 and Power L1024 machines next week, and then finish the series with an analysis of the Power E1050 – which does not support the IBM i operating system but which could any time IBM deemed it necessary – the week after that. Then we will dive into performance and price/performance analysis after we gather up this information, helping you compare these machines to prior generations of Power Systems machines.
The Power S1022 was revealed in announcement letter LG22-0030 and its companion Power L1022 was unveiled in announcement letter LG22-0034. On the L-class machines, Linux is the primary operating system and a maximum of 25 percent of the cores can be activated to run either IBM i or AIX. As with the other Power10 entry and midrange machines announced on July 12, the Power S1022 and Power L1022 were available on July 22, with a 256 GB memory card feature that gets these machines to their maximum 4 TB of memory shipping on November 14.
The naming conventions of the Power Systems machines tell you a bit about what the machines are, which is a kindness as well as logical. The “S” tells you it is an entry machine and the “L” tells you it is a Linux-only (well, a “Linux-mostly” entry machine), the “10” tells you it has a Power10 processor, the “2” tells you it has two processor sockets, and the second “2” tells you it comes in a 2U rack-mounted form factor.
Here is how the Power S1022 and Power L1022 rack-mounted machines stack up against their Power S922 and Power H922 predecessors.
IBM seems to have done away with the distinction between the SAP HANA H series and the Linux-mostly L series machines, which stands to reason since HANA requires Linux and IBM already had a “price-optimized” Linux-ish pricing scheme to better compete with X86 servers – mostly those based on Intel’s Xeon SPs, but sometimes those based on AMD Epyc CPUs.
As you can see from the chart above, the Power S1022 and Power L1022 machines have the same salient characteristics, so for now we are just going to use Power S1022 to mean both of them. (The difference will be hardware and systems software pricing.) Ditto for the Power S922 and Power H922, so we will similarly just say Power S922 in the comparisons that follow.
The Power S922 had single-chip modules (SCMs) that came with 4, 8, 10, or 11 out of the 12 Power9 cores activated per socket. The Power S1022 has a dual chip module that has a total of 32 cores, with 12, 16, or 20 of them active per socket. We think those yields on the Power10 can be – and will eventually be – higher, and that there is a good chance that IBM will do a Power10+ kicker maybe in a year and a half. And if not, IBM should.
Nonetheless, the Power S1022 has anywhere from 2X to 3X the cores, roughly, and each core will do somewhere around 70 percent more transaction and middleware processing work. The resulting system has twice the NUMA interconnect bandwidth, 2.4X the memory bandwidth across twice as many memory channels and has the same maximum memory capacity, which means IBM can build up 1 TB, 2 TB, or even 4 TB capacities without resorting to 256 GB or 512 GB memory features that are very expensive indeed. Like all of the other Power10 entry machines, the Power S1022 only supports NVM-Express flash storage – no SAS or SATA flash and no SAS or SATA disk drives. This is the 21st century. . . . There is plenty of I/O bandwidth in the Power S1022 to balance it all out.
Here is the layout of the system board on the Power S1022:
All of the four “Cirrus” Power10 chips in this machine are mean for compute and, unlike the Power S1014 and Power S1022s, the second Power10 chip in the DCM does not have all of its cores turned off and it is not being used as an I/O switch for the first Power10 chip that does have compute.
Here is a much better block diagram of the Power S1022 system board:
As you can see, the Power S1022 (and its Power L1022 variant) is really a four-way NUMA server masquerading as a two-socket server, just like an AMD Epyc 7003 series CPU is an eight-way server crammed into each processor socket. The sockets are, in a sense, an arbitrary boundary unlike in days gone by because of the high-speed networking that links elements inside the sockets and across sockets.
We live in the future. . . .
Like the Power S1022s that we discussed last week, the Power S1022 and its Power L1022 variant only come in rack-mounted form factors, which look like this:
The 2U form factor supports a maximum of eight NVM-Express flash adapters; there is room for another eight storage devices, but there is not sufficient I/O to connect them. There is also room for an internal RDX tape unit on the right of the machine, as you can see.
Just like the other Power10 entry machines, the Power S1022 can have NVM-Express flash drives in 800 GB, 1.6 TB, 3.2 TB, and 6.4 TB capacities for a maximum of 50.2 TB of local storage capacity.
Here is how the PCI-Express I/O lays out in the back of the Power S1022 machine:
In the Power S1022 machine and its Power L1022 variant, the 12-core DCM (which means it has only 6 of the 16 cores on each Power10 die activated) is feature #EPG6 and it runs at a base clock speed of 2.9 GHz and can turbo up to 4 GHz if there is enough heat dissipation envelope to do so. Feature #EPG8 has a pair of Power10 chips in its DCM, each with 8 of the 16 cores activated and running at a base frequency of 2.7 GHz with the same turbo speed up to 4 GHz. A four-core partition of these processor features are both rated at 106,300 CPWs, even though one is running 7.4 percent faster than the other. Go figure. CPW ratings are estimates in many cases.
Feature #EPGA has a pair of Power10 chips in its DCM that have 10 of the 16 cores activated and they run at a base frequency of 2.45 GHz with a turbo up to 4 GHz; a four-core partition running IBM i is rated at 104,700 CPWs.
Up next, the Power S1024 and Power L1024.