IBM has recently announced that it would release its new, faster, and more powerful seven-nanometre chip within 2021. With this bold move, the company aims to establish itself as a pioneer in the CPU market that has been so far dominated by its rival Advanced Micro Devices. What is the new IBM 7-nm chip, and how will it change the cloud computing landscape?

New IBM 7-nm chip is half the size of its predecessor

According to a report published by ZDNet, the new 7-nm chip will mark the tenth generation of the IBM Power processors, taking over from the Power9 processor line. While Power9 processors were produced at a size of 14-nm, IBM has managed to cut that in half for its new promising Power10 series. A deal about manufacturing the new processors that have been struck with Samsung Electronics and IBM hopes to have the new chip ready for deployment during the second half of 2021. Smaller and quicker, the new chip is also expected to provide more energy efficiency, as it will be able to process container density and workload capacity up to three times more than its predecessor.

The company’s flagship Power9 processors are already considered trailblazing in the industry and are used, among others, by Summit, one of the fastest supercomputers globally. The supercomputer that is located at the Oak Ridge National Laboratory, managed by the US Department of Energy, also employs a Tesla GPU by Nvidia. Yet, the new Power10 chip is set to break into a rising market: hybrid cloud computing servers, alongside IBM’s OpenShift, its newly purchased container platform solutions software. This move comes as cloud computing appears to gain ground and emerge as the next big thing in business workload management.

IBM Power10 processor taps into the cloud computing market

As Forbes reports, 32% of enterprise IT budgets will be set aside for cloud computing by 2021, while the average business spending on cloud computing rose by 59% from 2018 to reach $73.8 million in 2020. Amazon Web Services and Microsoft Azure are considered frontrunners in providing integrated cloud computing services to companies, yet cloud computing is also harnessed by more sophisticated software solutions in networks and database management. SolarWinds DPA has deployed a cloud-based Database Performance Monitor to streamline PostgreSQL query monitoring and optimisation. This allows cutting back on cost and maximises resource efficiency since cloud-based DPM agents take up less than 1% CPU. Cloud environments are also used in gaming, as popular online games like Fortnite can be played on the cloud.

The new IBM Power10 chip is set to tap into the potential of the cloud market that is constantly increasing in value, as it focuses on enterprise hybrid cloud solutions. It also marks an attempt to rise as a contender against AMD which has already launched its own 7-nm processor, produced by Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing. Being able to release the new chip within 2021 will be pivotal for IBM’s success in securing a bigger share of the market, as Intel, poised as AMD’s main rival, has already announced that due to productions problems it will delay its own 7-nm chip until the end of 2022 at the earliest.

According to IEEE Spectrum, IBM set its sights on a cutting-edge, state-of-the-art 7-nm processor since 2014, when it launched its $3 billion research project “7-nm and Beyond”. The five-year initiative aimed to identify tech solutions to successfully decrease chip size while doubling its transistors and power, harnessing ASML and extreme-ultraviolet lithography along the way. Its new 7-nm processor implements the best lessons learned on this journey, as it boasts 18 billion transistors and security capabilities able to respond to quantum-safe cryptography. It also showcases a new IBM tech called Memory Inception, which allows clients to set up memory pools across Power10-powered systems.

The new Power10 7-nm processor is celebrated as a prospective game-changer for IBM’s market position – and if all goes according to plan, it will also transform the wider cloud computing industry.