August 22, 2016 | Written by: Rani Borkar
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What started as a risky experiment two years ago has grown into a full-blown revolution.
The OpenPOWER Foundation, the open technical community based on the open and licensable POWER architecture, has grown from the original five charter members in 2014 to more than 250 organizations from around the world today. This growing ecosystem enables members to share expertise, investment, and server-class intellectual property to serve the evolving needs of customers and the industry.
IBM shared its superior processor technology with a community of innovators, as a first step and a bold leap into the new era of information technology that is being driven by cognitive computing. An architecture and platform that enables collaborative innovation is required to propel the new cognitive frontier forward.
At the inaugural OpenPOWER Summit held in Silicon Valley two years ago the Foundation unveiled 15 new pieces of hardware, numerous integrated solutions, partnerships with hundreds of software providers and the dozens of proof of concept studies with end users.
Our recent 2016 summit featured 60 new solutions and a rich, growing software ecosystem of more than 2300 ISVs developing solutions for Linux on POWER8. Some of the world’s largest technology and Internet services companies are now using OpenPOWER-based technology in their data centers.
At this year’s summit Google and Rackspace announced their plans to collaborate on a POWER9 based OpenCompute server design.
It is clear that OpenPOWER is gaining ground as a viable alternative to x86, but what is even more exciting is OpenPOWER’s pace of innovation. Without spilling all the beans, I can tell you that at tomorrow’s annual HOT CHIPS conference in Silicon Valley, a new POWER9 chip will be unveiled that is a significant upgrade from POWER8. Already a robust ecosystem of partners is actively developing solutions around POWER’s next generation processor. In addition to Google and Rackspace they include, NVIDIA, Supermicro, Wistron, Mellanox and several more.
POWER9 will actually be a family of chips, all tuned for emerging workloads. It will deliver faster and more power-efficient computing at the rack level than previous generations; on one version of the POWER9 we have doubled the number of CPU cores to 24, making it ideal for hyperscale data centers. POWER9 is the first chip fully built for the cognitive era of computing.
In the final analysis, our industry thrives on innovation. In fact, the new era of cognitive computing applied across every industry will demand new innovations to propel them forward. Collaborative innovation is the hallmark of the OpenPOWER Foundation, and why so many industry partners are not only jumping on board but actively developing solutions to revolutionize their respective industries. _____________________________
Rani Borkar, is Vice President, OpenPOWER Development, IBM Systems. Prior to joining IBM in May 2016, Borkar was a senior technology executive and product visionary at Intel Corp., where she served in silicon product development fueling the growth of Intel’s PC, data center, IoT, and phone/tablet businesses.