IBM recently held two briefings on their Power10 processor and Power E-1080 server and their Partner Ecosystem, which is one of the richest in the market.
For Power10, they had Pfizer talk about how Power has been critical to their operations and success. In addition, in their Partner event, IBM spoke about an effort with Mercedes Benz to use quantum computing to understand battery technology better and create something revolutionary when it comes to stored electrical energy.
Let’s talk about both of these efforts by IBM.
IBM Power10 And the Frictionless Hybrid Cloud
IBM has two major cloud initiatives outside of their own IBM Cloud offering. They are the hybrid cloud and the multicloud, and they dovetail with each other nicely. But the dominant server architecture in the cloud is Intel’s X86, and displacing a technology as dominant as X86 isn’t a viable strategy. However, designing a part that does a few things better than X86 is doable, because Intel’s platform has to be a jack-of-all-trades, making it very difficult for it to be a master of any of them.
Scott Growth, Pfizer’s ERP architect, indicated that IBM’s Power platform and the breakthroughs they have collectively had on it changed many patients’ lives for the better. He testified that this platform allowed him to deploy 19K virtual threads over the 1,300 cores they have deployed. This ability to massively share CPU resources has been critical to their enterprise SAP deployment through a single instance. They don’t think any other platform can provide the same massive workload on a similar relatively small resource.
One of the significant areas of focus is the idea of a frictionless hybrid cloud where data and applications can move seamlessly between the two environments and likely across multiple cloud providers depending on the need. Their new generation, the IBM Power E-1080 Servers, promises 30% more performance and 52% less energy usage over their prior generation. A new memory architecture also promises a 2.5x improvement in memory RAS. With embedded AI capabilities coupled with advanced recovery and automatic self-healing, the Power 10 platform looks as impressive as Pfizer indicated and well-differentiated in the market.
IBM, Mercedes, And Quantum Battery Research
IBM was one of the first companies to research quantum computing, which is expected to be a significant game changer for the kinds of analytical loads. For several years, I was the lead battery analyst for the U.S., and during that time, I visited IBM’s labs where they were working on a lithium-ion replacement called lithium-air. That research continues promising lower costs, faster charging, higher power densities, higher energy efficiency, and lower flammability.
But beyond this, IBM shared that they were working with Mercedes Benz, one of the automotive companies attempting to pivot from the internal combustion engine (ICE) to electric vehicles (EVs), aggressively on a new battery architecture. IBM’s battery work goes back decades, and the related research primarily used conventional computers. While they are a leader in quantum computing, providing early practical applications of this new computing power has proven daunting.
Using quantum computing to understand better how existing batteries work and then using the related information to create a new battery class is inspired. If successful, this battery advancement effort should not only create a far more capable battery but a leading and prominent example of the benefits of using quantum computing in applied product research. Success would tend to move the perceptions of quantum computing from near fantasy to practical reality, opening up demand for quantum computing tied to practical business applications.
In short, this effort might not just improve batteries. It could validate a general-purpose use for quantum computing far earlier than anticipated, creating a stronger foundation for the eventual birth of a quantum computing market.
IBM recently had two powerful announcements: their Power10 platform and E-1080 server providing a critical solution for those looking to leverage central computing resources and create frictionless hybrid environments massively; and their work with Mercedes to create a next-generation battery to power tomorrow’s cars through the IBM Partner Ecosystem.
IBM continues to do significant research and create unique product innovations that could eventually change the world.