Sign up for our newsletter and get the latest HPC news and analysis.
Send me information from insideHPC:


OpenPOWER Showcases Real Hardware including Prototype HPC Server

FullSizeRender

Today at the OpenPOWER Summit in San Jose, the OpenPOWER Foundation showed off real hardware for the first time today with 13 systems including a a prototype HPC server from IBM and new microprocessor customized for China. Built collaboratively by OpenPOWER members, the new solutions exploit the POWER architecture to provide more choice, customization and performance to customers, including hyperscale data centers.

The OpenPOWER Foundation which is a collaboration of technologists encouraging the adoption of an open server architecture for computer data centers has grown to more than 110 businesses, organizations and individuals across 22 countries. IBM’s POWER architecture is the cornerstone of innovation for the OpenPOWER Foundation, creating a computing platform available to all.

Members and customers recognize the technical benefits of the POWER architecture. The POWER8 microprocessor is the first processor designed from the ground up for Big Data and analytics workloads. With alternative chips priced 50% higher, the POWER8 processor utilized by OpenPOWER members and others can enable the design of systems that deliver better performance – projected at nearly 60% better performance per dollar spent on processors.

Since our first public event just under one year ago, the OpenPOWER Foundation has expanded dramatically and enabled the development of a new breed of data center technology products worldwide,” said Gordon MacKean, OpenPOWER Foundation Chair. “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.”

FullSizeRenderNew hardware solutions revealed today include:

  • Prototype of IBM’s first OpenPOWER HPC server on the path to exascale – IBM and Wistron are jointly developing the first OpenPOWER-based high performance computing server using technology from NVIDIA and Mellanox. The system will be the debut offering in a series of solutions to be introduced 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.
  • First commercially available OpenPOWER server, the TYAN TN71-BP012 – With planned availability in the second quarter of 2015, the TYAN TN71-BP012 servers are designed for large-scale cloud deployments and follow Tyan’s highly successful OpenPOWER customer reference system introduced in October 2014. IBM will be among the first to deploy the new servers as part of its SoftLayer infrastructure, utilizing them for a new bare metal service offering.
  • First GPU-accelerated OpenPOWER developer platform, the Cirrascale RM4950 – The Cirrascale RM4950 is the result of collaboration between NVIDIA, Tyan and one of the OpenPOWER Foundation’s newest members, Cirrascale. Immediately available for order and shipping in volume in the second quarter of 2015, the platform supports the development of GPU-accelerated big data analytics, deep learning, and scientific computing applications.
  • Open server specification and motherboard mock-up combining OpenPOWER, Open Compute and OpenStack – Rackspace, a managed cloud company, revealed an open server design and prototype motherboard, combining OpenPOWER and Open Compute design concepts. The new design, targeted to run OpenStack services and be deployed in Rackspace data centers, will draw upon a wide range of open innovations to deliver users improved performance, value, and features.

Other member-developed solutions revealed leverage Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (CAPI), a unique feature built into the POWER architecture. CAPI provides members and other technology companies the ability to build solutions right on top of the POWER architecture. New CAPI-based solutions include the ConnectX-4 adapter card by Mellanox, Convey’s CAPI developer kit leveraging Xilinix FPGA-based co-processors, and shared virtual memory between a Stratix V FPGA accelerator and a POWER8 CPU developed by Altera and IBM.  These OpenPOWER CAPI-based solutions join Nallatech’s OpenPOWER CAPI Developer Kit developed by Nallatech in collaboration with Altera and IBM and released November 2014.

The Power of OpenPOWER in China

OpenPOWER Foundation members also revealed products under development in China, where the OpenPOWER ecosystem is providing Chinese technology companies the option to build custom solutions and accelerate local innovation.

At the center of China’s emerging OpenPOWER-based ecosystem is CP1, the first POWER chip for the China market, from a Chinese chip design company named PowerCore. The first China OpenPOWER system with CP1 will come to market this year. CP1 will be utilized by Zoom Netcom for a new line of servers called RedPower, the first China OpenPOWER two-socket system coming to market in 2015. Additional Chinese OpenPOWER members, including ChuangHe, shared designs for China-branded OpenPOWER systems incorporating POWER8 processors which have planned availability in 2015.

These announcements follow an endorsement of OpenPOWER in the fall of 2014 by the Chinese government through the formation of the China POWER Technology Alliance (CPTA), a public-private partnership. In order to drive innovation and opportunity for China based companies, the major mission for CPTA is to promote the upgrading of China’s industrial structure through the integration of Chinese local and the OpenPOWER ecosystem resources under the guidance of Chinese government. CPTA, through the international cooperation to lead POWER technology, will create the world’s top technology solutions that leverage the latest Big Data and cloud computing capabilities and apply these outcomes in bank, telecommunications, energy, transportation, internet and Smarter City technology initiatives in China.

Cross-Community Collaboration Drives More Open Solutions

The OpenPOWER Foundation also announced the formation of the OpenPOWER Advisory Group, a formal mechanism for engaging with other open development organizations. Inaugural members of the Advisory Group represent the Linux Foundation, the Open Compute Project and the China POWER Technology Alliance (CPTA). The Advisory Group will provide guidance to the OpenPOWER Board of Directors and serve as a forum for support and collaboration between communities with open approaches to infrastructure and software development.

Sign up for our insideHPC Newsletter.

Resource Links: