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Telum Adds AI Accelerator to IBM Z

August 31, 2021

Author: Aakash Jani

Last year, the IBM Z15 processor set an industry record with 256MB of on-die memory. With its newly announced “Telum” processor, the company shattered that record, achieving 512MB of cache per socket. Boasting targeted memory and front-end changes, the new processor exceeds the performance of its predecessor. Telum also offers a mainframe first by integrating a custom deep-learning accelerator (DLA).

At the recent Hot Chips conference, Christian Jacobi, the lead architect, unveiled IBM’s latest Z-series processor, which comprises eight CISC cores and 22.5 billion transistors. The company manufactures this 530mm2 chip in a Samsung 7nm process. Telum consistently operates over 5GHz, and it’s set to appear in the latest IBM Z mainframe system. The company has withheld when its next mainframe will arrive, but we expect Telum to reach production in 1Q22.

IBM continues to dominate the mainframe market. Its offerings serve four out of the top five airlines, 7 of the top 10 retailers, and 90% of the world’s top 50 banks. Customers use its mainframes for either on-premises computing or a hybrid cloud. Like a car lease, they rent the machine for several years and then upgrade when necessary, tapping the company’s deep pool of application engineers to overcome any bumps along the way.

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