Wednesday, April 20, 2016

OpenPOWER - A Game Changer on the Server Industry Competitive Landscape

By: Gary Millward   Categories:Power Systems, Infrastructure Solutions

OpenPOWER - A Game Changer on the Server Industry Competitive Landscape

Two years ago, IBM launched the OpenPOWER Foundation with four partners: Google, NVIDIA, Mellanox Technologies and Tyan. Today, there are 149 members across 22 countries with thousands of developers working on bringing new OpenPOWER-based innovations to market.

Why did IBM go down this path? What's in it for customers?

1. To extend the reach of Power Architecture and accelerate innovation
The open source funding model is the key to the development of unique solutions that will enhance customer value customer value faster than any single company can.

  • More choices and unique solutions
  • Lower costs
  • Improved Performance

This will give IT consumers a competitive advantage and the ability to take on new challenges. This means companies will be able to do things they could never do or afford to do in the past. 

2. Performance Improvement and Lower Cost in the Spirit of Moore's Law

Moore’s Law states that every 24 months, the number of transistors on a CPU chip will double. This has been steadily observed to be true since 1965, enabling the rapid technological progress and cost reductions over the last four decades.

Today Micro Processor CPU advancements alone are not driving the performance improvement and cost reductions required to stay on track with historical achievements. The price of Intel processors keeps going up instead of down. Their price increased 50% from 2007 to 2014. 

System Stack innovations will enable us to keep up with our price / performance expectations. This includes improvements and efficiencies created from new applications, cloud computing, workload accelerators (using GPUs to off-load CPU), advanced memories (CAPI & Flash), system software integration, and optimization.

3. To meet the demands of Hyper Scale Users

Initially, Google wanted to build their own hardware to take on the new challenges and free themselves from being locked into a single supplier for x86 processor chips. But OpenPOWER offers far more.

What is the OpenPOWER Foundation’s mission? 

The mission was to create an open ecosystem based on IBM Power Systems as an alternative to the proprietary x86 architecture. The Foundation was created to share expertise, investment, and server-class intellectual property to serve the evolving needs of customers and industry.

The OpenPOWER Foundation enables data centers to rethink their approach to technology. Its member companies are able to customize POWER8 processors and system platforms to meet their specific business needs. 
These innovations include custom solutions for Big Data workload acceleration through GPU, FPGA or advanced I/O technologies. 

Achievements generated by OpenPOWER in the first two years
There are more than 1600 Linux applications now running on POWER, including popular database and data analytics applications like Redis Labs, MariaDB, Hadoop, MongoDB,to name a few. 

The achievements now include first OpenPOWER Systems manufactured by consortium members other than IBM. Tyan has a 2 socket system targeted at internet and cloud service providers. IBM has announced they will sell Open Power Systems from Taiwan manufacturer Wistron. Both non-IBM manufacturers provide new solutions to drive down the cost of servers and improve performance over x86 based machines. 

The collaboration that is taking place is impressive. There are hundreds of collaborative projects and POCs underway across Foundation members and with end-users. 

The OpenPOWER Foundation has been a game changing approach for IBM. You certainly can’t call this secretive or proprietary. The increase in members from 5 to 149 demonstrates that this Foundation is gaining traction with other technology innovators. The outcomes of their work will generate massive benefits in the future for IT consumers. Congratulations to IBM and the OpenPOWER Foundation members on the second birthday of the consortium. 

If you would like to discuss how your business can benefit from POWER8 solutions, give me a call or drop me an email

Gary Millward, Account Executive
905.508.8489 ext. 314

Read More:  Why IBM’s OpenPOWER Foundation Could Change the Server Market

Gary Millward

Gary Millward

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