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Technology Dream Team Reveals New OpenPOWER Server Solutions

By , Derek Forrest - Source: Toms IT Pro
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Today, the collaborative efforts of Google, IBM, NVIDIA, Mellanox, Tyan, and hundreds of other companies and individual developers, better known as the OpenPOWER Foundation, revealed more than ten new hardware solutions for the fledgling platform at their OpenPOWER Summit in San Jose, California.

The OpenPOWER Foundation was created back in December of 2013 with the goal of enabling today's data centers to rethink their approach to technology. "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."

The cornerstone of the new technology is IBM's POWER8 processor, which boasts a nearly 60 percent improvement on price-to-performance ratio over alternative chips. Using this new architecture, developers are provided with more opportunity to innovate across the full hardware and software stack, simplifying system design and allowing more flexibility.

Tyan TN71-BP012Tyan TN71-BP012Among the revealed technology is the first commercially available OpenPOWER server, the TYAN TN71-BP012, which is designed for large-scale cloud deployments, and the first GPU-accelerated OpenPOWER developer platform, the Cirrascale RM4950, which is the result of a collaboration between NVIDIA, Tyan, and Cirrascale and supports the development of GPU-accelerated big data analytics, deep learning, and scientific computing applications. Both products are expected to be available in Q2 2015.

Along with these new offerings, several prototypes were revealed, including an open server specification and motherboard, as well as IBM's first OpenPOWER high performance computing server. These servers are predicted to be "five to 10 times faster than today’s leading supercomputers." With all this innovation, performance, and efficiency, one industry giant -- Intel -- may not appreciate OpenPOWER's resolve to drive market efficiency.

The OpenPOWER Foundation's press release stated that pricing is no contest, citing the Linley Group's December 29, 2014 report, "POWER8 Hits the Merchant Market." "We estimate that IBM's 12-core Power8 will list for $2,500; add $180 or $360 for two or four buffer chips. Intel hasn't published a list price for the Xeon E5-2699v3, but after surveying some Internet re-sellers, we estimate it lists for about $4,100," read the release notes.

Staying true to its goal, OpenPOWER revealed new technology that is nothing short of a disruptive shot that challenges our conceptions of Big Data technology with an open ecosystem of expertise, investment and server-class intellectual property, with a price-to-performance ratio that could challenge Intel's market share as it continues to develop and innovate.

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