IBM will continue with its own development of the processor; its due to release Power5 in the second half of the year, and already is working on Power6. In addition, at the event here the company demonstrated the architecture in everything from its BladeCenter JS20 to a scaled-down version of the Blue Gene supercomputer. IBM also announced that the JS20 will begin shipping in April. But it also will look for partners to customize and innovate on top of Power, similar to what Apple, of Cupertino, Calif., has done with the PowerPC 970, which runs in its G5 systems. However, the industry can no longer focus on chip speed or size as the key factors to platform development, said Bernard Meyerson, chief technologist and vice president of IBMs Technology Group. The continued shrinking of the chips has led to faster, cheaper and denser systems, but it also is resulting in chips that burn a lot of power through leakage. And while the development of the chips has driven the industry for the past four decades, going forward it will be the way the architecture optimizes systems and software that will key future innovation, Meyerson said.Key to that will be partnerships with other companies, what Meyerson called "a vibrant processing ecosystem." "Theres a worldwide system of very smart folks out there, and you have to engage them," he said. "Its not about the gigahertz or megahertz. Its about system optimization. This is going to be a world driven by integration." That is a key driver behind IBMs push to move Linux onto the Power platform, said Nicholas Donofrio, senior vice president of technology and manufacturing at IBM. Open-source Linux has quickly become the key operating system on everything from the smallest servers to the largest supercomputers, and IBM is looking to model its push for an open Power platform on such movements as Linux. "Its time for an architecture that really enables innovation to flourish," Donofrio said.
"The bottom line is, you cant make things smaller forever," he said.