Business Cloud News
IBM is open sourcing its POWER architecture to enable chip innovations for scalable  cloud datacentres

IBM is open sourcing its POWER architecture to enable chip innovations for scalable cloud datacentres

Google, IBM, Mellanox, Nvidia and Tyan on Tuesday formed the OpenPower Consortium, a development alliance set up to innovate around IBM’s Power architecture for cloud datacentres.

As part of the move IBM is releasing its Power architecture for open development and will license Power intellectual property to others outside the industry consortium.

According to IBM the industry alliance intends to build server, networking, storage and GPU-acceleration technology aimed at improving data centre flexibility and scalability, which is critical for cloud services. The consortium will use an open source Power firmware and tweak OpenStack and LinuxKVM to run in the OpenPower ecosystem.

“The founding members of the OpenPower Consortium represent the next generation in data center innovation,” said Steve Mills, senior vice president, and group executive, IBM Software & Systems. “Combining our talents and assets around the Power architecture can greatly increase the rate of innovation throughout the industry. Developers now have access to an expanded and open set of server technologies for the first time. This type of ‘collaborative development’ model will change the way data center hardware is designed and deployed,” Mills said.

As part of their initial collaboration Nvidia also announced that it will work with IBM to integrate the CUDA GPU into the Power architecture ecosystem.

“Clearly if you look at what’s happenings with systems these days the SOC is containing a very large percentage of the computer now – the IO subsystems are being integrated on the processors; we’ve already integrated the memory subsystem; we’ve already integrated the SMP subsystem. So a large portion of the computer is now being integrated on the SOC and we’re looking to innovate in this area,” said Brad McCredie, vice president and chief technology officer, systems and technology group and IBM Fellow. “We’re also modifying and improving our intellectual property to be more participatory in this market,” McCredie added.

McCredie told Business Cloud News that its latest move compliments the company’s OpenStack and Cloud Foundry efforts, saying that the Open Power Consortium will help develop new cloud innovations at the chip level within an open technology framework, and help drive development of the company’s new Power 8 chip technology.

“Next month we’ll be announcing the Power 8 technology, which is the flagship technology upon which the OpenPower consortium is built, and that Power 8 technology has some advanced bus features that we’re opening up to enable collaboration with our partners so they can attach their technology – a coherent accelerator processor interface, CAPI bus,” McCredie said. “

The consortium’s founding members include Google, Mellanox, Nvidia, Tyan and IBM, and McCredie said that the consortium will open up for general participation in Q4 this year, once the structure of the organisation is more firmly in place and clear deliverables are set.