Microservers must Specialize to Survive

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The server market is at a potential inflection point, with a new breed of ARM-based microserver vendors challenging the status quo, particularly for cloud computing. We survey 20 modern processors to understand the options for alternative architectures. To achieve disruptive performance, microserver vendors must deeply specialize in particular workloads. However, there is a trade-off between differentiation and market breadth. As the handful of microserver startups are culled to 1-2 viable vendors, only the companies which deliver compelling advantages to significant markets will survive.

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IBM z196 Mainframe Architecture

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IBM’s mainframes are the oldest line of computers, dating back to 1964 and occupy a special place as the world’s first instruction set architecture. This longevity and extreme backwards compatibility are responsible for perhaps the most lucrative computer franchise. IBM’s z196 is the first mainframe with an out-of-order CMOS microprocessor, and also the first with an integrated L3 cache. These two innovations are largely responsible for a 30-40% improvement in performance over the previous generation z10.

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An eCLipz Looms on the Horizon

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In the Shadow of Poughkeepsie Since the release of the POWER5 MPU, IBM has held an enviable position in the high end server market. IBM’s pSeries servers are unmatched from a performance standpoint, boasting a 2x performance lead over the nearest competitor in TPC-C and within 5% of the #1 SAP 2D result (which is […]

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The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Mainframe – The Basics

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‘Ford Prefect’ (a pseudonym) gives some background about the IBM S/390 family of mainframe computers, offering reasons why these systems are still entrenched in several thousand large corporations.

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Notes from ISSCC 2001

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Paul DeMone gives a rundown of the interesting papers on microprocessor design from the last ISSCC Conference.

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