OpenPOWER Announcements Focus on Big Data, Cloud

by   |   March 18, 2015 1:00 pm   |   0 Comments

The OpenPOWER Foundation, a collaboration of technology organizations that is encouraging the adoption of an open server architecture for computer data centers, today introduced new chips, cards, and boards developed on the OpenPOWER server architecture, designed to deliver an open alternative to the proprietary x86-based architecture.

The new hardware products were built collaboratively by foundation members using IBM’s POWER architecture. The foundation aims to enable the server vendor ecosystem to build its own customized server, networking, and storage hardware for future data centers and cloud computing. Consistent with that mission, IBM’s POWER8 microprocessor is the first designed from the ground up for big data and analytics workloads.

“IBM’s Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI), a unique interface feature built into the POWER architecture, is leading to all new possibilities for big data performance when combined with the OpenPOWER collaborators,” said Brad McCredie, IBM Fellow and President of the OpenPOWER Foundation. “CAPI is one of POWER8’s greatest advancements, providing raw speed at a lower cost, and is creating an ecosystem of even higher performing, faster solutions ideal for big data workloads.”

Among the products and prototypes OpenPOWER members revealed today is the first commercially available OpenPOWER server, the TYAN TN71-BP012. The server is designed for large-scale cloud deployments.

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“Tyan Systems supports 32 x DIMM in a single socket system instead of 4 x DIMM for x86 single socket and 24 x DIMM for dual socket x86 system. It means TN71 BP012 has a much larger memory footprint for big data and in memory analysis,” said Albert Mu, Vice President, Tyan Business Unit. “In addition, thanks to the POWER8 processor, the number of threads is also much bigger than that of an x86 system. Tyan TN71 BP012 applies mainstream building blocks and server technology, so the performance cost benefits are significant compared to that of an x86 system.”

IBM has added the Tyan Systems server to its cloud offerings.

“Since it is available on IBM’s SoftLayer cloud, today’s new Tyan System launch is ideal for customers seeking to build hybrid cloud solutions,” said McCredie. “Given that the OpenPOWER ecosystem is based on Little Endian Linux, the migration process requires minimal effort.”

Also announced was a prototype of the first high-performance server on the path to exascale – that is, capable of 1 billion calculations per second. Developed by IBM and Wistron using technology from NVIDIA and Mellanox, the system will be the first in a series of solutions as part of IBM’s OpenPOWER technical computing roadmap, which includes IBM’s future delivery of two systems to Lawrence Livermore and Oak Ridge National Laboratories.

The systems are predicted to be five to 10 times faster than today’s leading supercomputers.

The foundation also released the Cirrascale RM4950, the first OpenPOWER-based GPU developer platform. The platform supports the development of big data analytics, machine learning, and scientific computing GPU applications, and is the result of collaboration between OpenPOWER foundation members NVIDIA, Tyan, and Cirrascale.

In addition, OpenPOWER Foundation members also revealed products that are under development in China.

An OpenPOWER-based ecosystem is emerging in China around the CP1, the first POWER chip for the Chinese market, from Chinese chip design company and OpenPOWER Foundation member PowerCore. The first Chinese OpenPOWER system with CP1 will come to market this year. Additional Chinese OpenPOWER members, including ChuangHe, shared designs for China-branded OpenPOWER systems incorporating POWER8 processors, which have planned availability in 2015.

In the fall of 2014, the Chinese government endorsed OpenPOWER through the formation of the China POWER Technology Alliance (CPTA), a public-private partnership dedicated to upgrading China’s industrial structure through the integration of Chinese and OpenPOWER ecosystem resources.

Today’s announcement builds upon five OpenPOWER-based products brought to market in less than a year by a growing roster of innovators that have joined the OpenPOWER Foundation, now representing 113 members across 22 countries.

“Since our formal launch just over one year ago, the OpenPOWER Foundation has expanded dramatically and enabled the development of a new breed of data center technology products worldwide,” said OpenPOWER Foundation Chair Gordon MacKean. “Through our members’ individual and collective efforts, we are positively disrupting the market, delivering innovations that advance data center technology, expand choice, and drive market efficiency.”

“The OpenPOWER approach results in superior community-driven innovations that can meet the data center challenges posed by big data and cloud,” said McCredie. “IBM’s POWER architecture is the cornerstone of innovation for the OpenPOWER Foundation, enabling the next generation of innovators, with members working collectively on more than 100 innovations. This has enabled the creation of dozens of new innovations worldwide, culminating today in a wave of new hardware innovations, deployments, and engagements announced by the foundation and its members.”

Scott Etkin is the managing editor of Data Informed. Email him at Follow him on Twitter: @Scott_WIS.

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