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IBM Opens POWER Technology for Development


The POWER7+ chip, courtesy of IBM

IBM, along with Google, Mellanox, NVIDIA and Tyan, has announced that it will form a new consortium called OpenPOWER. The OpenPOWER Consortium will leverage IBM’s proven POWER processor to provide an open and flexible development platform aimed at accelerating the rate of innovation for advanced, next-generation data centers.

As leaders in data-center innovation, the member companies decided that moving to a more collaborative development model would help meet the needs of cloud data centers and the community at large. Members plan to share expertise, investment and server-class intellectual property to serve the evolving needs of the IT community and deliver more choice, control and flexibility.

“We are really excited to be part of this consortium,” says Brad McCredie, IBM Vice President and IBM Fellow, Systems and Technology Group CTO. “We think we can offer unique value to the community and produce exceptional next-generation open hardware, software, firmware and tools through collaborative innovation. The move also puts IBM in the center of innovation and shines a light on future cloud data centers.”

The intention is to provide advanced and highly customized servers, subsystems, memory, storage, networking components and more toward the development of new technology based on open-source software. While not disclosing what server technologies the consortium intends to produce first, IBM says designs are already underway and may be deployed as early as 2014.

“IBM and the OpenPOWER Consortium will offer open-source POWER firmware, the software that controls basic chip functions, and will leverage existing open-source software throughout the stack,” McCredie says. “By doing this, we are enabling unprecedented customization in creating new styles of server hardware for a variety of computing workloads.”

The OpenPOWER Consortium will be open to anyone who wants to innovate on the POWER platform and participate in an open and collaborative effort. “We expect to continually expand the membership with companies from IT and other industries,” McCredie says. Members will be able to innovate at their own pace and will decide what intellectual property they will share. Those that are released will be open and available for commercialization.

“I believe that this move to share our POWER hardware and software in a way that makes them available for open development will really increase the number of people innovating on the platform,” McCredie says. “It could significantly change the way new technology is developed and deployed.”

For information on how to join the consortium, contact info@open-power.org.

Tami Deedrick is the former managing editor of IBM Systems Magazine, Power Systems edition.




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