Poof Goes the Cell Blades

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IBM logoAccording to an article posted today at The Register, IBM has officially discontinued any new production of their QS21, two-socket Cell blade servers.  The second generation Cell blades, marketed mainly towards HPC and technical computing customers, was announced back in August of 2007.  Today, IBM contacted current QS21 customers and indicated that they have until June 25 of 2010 to order more parts.  Bummer dude.

Today, IBM told customers using its QS21 blades, mostly in as supercomputer clusters, that they have until June 25 to order more parts. After that, no mas. The QS21 blade came with two 3.2 GHz Cell processors, each with one Power core and eight synergistic processing elements (SPEs) for doing complex calculations and 2 GB of XDR main memory; the blade sold for $9,995 and a chassis of 14 of the blades was able to deliver 6.4 teraflops of single-precision floating point math performance.

So what, right?  “Nanner, nanner, nanner… I have QS22 blades.”  Well, count your days as well, my friend, because your clock frequency is waning.  IBM has clearly indicated that they will no longer develop any new Cell core processors.  According to sources inside IBM, Cell development has been folded into PowerPC development.  This implies that future PowerPC processors beyond the Power7 will include some sort of “specialty” processing capability, but no standalone Cells.

IBM is no fool.  They’ve been in this game for a long time and have developed some very thick skin [and deep pockets].  If you’re interested in reading original article, check it out here.