On Monday February 8th, without much pomp or ceremony IBM announced the new POWER7 microprocessor architecture and the 4 new SYSTEM p servers that  utilize the new architecture. POWER7 is the next step in the IBM POWER roadmap and as far as next steps go it is a very significant one. I don’t intend to do a blow by blow account of everything that is new in POWER7 and what it really means. For those that are interested, I recommend attending one of the POWER 7 launch events/webcasts.

If you are interested in databases (why else would you read this blog), then you will be interested to learn that DB2 takes full advantage of the POWER7 architecture. DB2 development team worked closely with the POWER7 team to deliver top performance, better energy efficiency and lower overall costs.

Multithreading is the star of the POWER7 architecture with each processor sporting 8 cores and each core running up to 4 threads for a total of 32 threads per chip. And these threads utilize a technique called Simultaneous Multithreading or SMT4 to make sure that threads are scheduled for execution with out most efficiency. DB2 takes full advantage of all of the new POWER7 cores and the new SMT4 threads. DB2 memory management is also optimized to take advantage of POWER7 improvements in this area. And DB2 can now exploit larger page sizes. All of this results in better price performance not only when compared to the previous POWER6 and POWER5 generation of chips but also when compared to competitive DBMS running on Intel’s latest Nehalem chips. Early internal tests point to a 38% cost advantage for DB2 pureScale running on Power 780 turbo over Oracle Real Application Cluster (RAC)  on Nehalem.

Since the free DB2 Express-C is not available for AIX, does it mean that using this free database locks you out of benefiting from the POWER7 architecture? Not really. The free DB2 Express-C is available for Linux on POWER; has been for years. This means you can run DB2 Express-C on a Linux LPAR on System p or System i server. So, if Linux on POWER is a consideration for you, take a look at the new POWER7 architecture and download the free DB2 Express-C for Linux on POWER to get the most out of your System p and System i.

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