Top IBM Power Systems myths: The OpenPOWER Foundation is not really an industry backed consortium

By | 3 minute read | April 9, 2019

There are many misconceptions about IBM Power Systems in the marketplace today, and this blog series is helping to dispel some of the top myths. In my last post, I put aside the myth that the x86 architecture is the de-facto industry standard for all applications and that Power Systems will soon become obsolete. In this post, I want to take on the myth that the OpenPOWER Foundation is not really an industry backed consortium and has no real influence or value in the marketplace. In fact, as I argued previously, it is one of the key reasons why IBM Power Systems will continue to grow.

Reality: We live in a world of alliances, consortiums and partnerships

Twenty years ago, large companies might have had 50–100 different alliances and/or relationships with partners and industry consortiums, but today’s environment is very different. IBM currently works with over 160,000 partners worldwide, and new relationships are created every day. We’ve been cultivating an ecosystem model that continues to benefit our traditional channel base and at the same time develop partnerships and relationships with more of the cutting-edge players and independent software vendors (ISVs) developing applications for data analytics, artificial intelligence, cloud native applications, cloud and managed service providers. These are the workloads that are driving innovation and digital transformation in organizations today.

The OpenPOWER Foundation adds another level of collaboration to this rapidly growing ecosystem.

OpenPOWER Foundation value creation

Organizations join consortiums and alliances for a variety of reasons. One of the main reasons is to gain access to another company’s knowledge and resources. Others may join to enhance their competitive position or to help set new technology standards or promote more open environments. And some may join just to see what their competitors are doing. Whatever the reason, all who join expect to get some value from their investment.

  • For IBM – The OpenPOWER Foundation is a collaboration around the Power ISA (Instruction Set Architecture) and associated technologies. Open collaboration creates shared value for IBM and other OpenPOWER Foundation members to promote Power Systems–based solutions that address our collective customer needs.
  •  For members – Members innovate and benefit from the shared expertise, investment and Intellectual Property of all OpenPOWER Foundation members. Their innovations can be made available to the open community or integrated into higher-value Intellectual Property for their clients. Member innovations can also be consumed internally within their own organization. While all members are encouraged to share innovation, the foundation respects the intellectual property rights of members and their desire to include open or proprietary offerings in their solutions.
  • For the industry – There are approximately 150 OpenPOWER Ready Certified products available today including Power-based systems, development tools and compilers, operating systems, GPUs, network interfaces and more. Visit our website to see a list of these products.

Measuring success

The interesting thing about organizations like the OpenPOWER Foundation is that membership is voluntary, and members can leave at anytime if they don’t see any value or benefit to their organization. In less than six years, membership has grown to over 340 companies, government organizations and academic institutions across thirty-five countries and shows no signs of slowing down.

Here are a few more data points that help to dispel the myth that the OpenPOWER Foundation is not an industry backed consortium and has no influence or value in the marketplace.

  • 90+ ISVs developing applications on Linux on Power
  • 100K+ Linux applications running on Power
  • 40+ OpenPOWER Servers available today
  • 20+ Systems Manufacturers


It takes time and patience to build an organization like the OpenPOWER Foundation, and the ones that are hastily put together seldom work. OpenPOWER Foundation members are serious companies in very competitive markets and do not have the time or money to waste on investments in technologies with no future.

That they are committed to help us build and grow an open ecosystem for the IBM Power Systems architecture makes a cogent argument for the importance of this technology to the industry today and in the future.

Questions about migrating to Power?

IBM Systems Lab Services has a team of experienced consultants ready to help you get the most out of IBM Power Systems. Reach out to us today if you have questions, and stay tuned for the next post in this series.