IBM, OpenPower Foundation Make Push into Europe

At the first OpenPower Summit on the continent, the group unveiled new projects and offerings based on the open architecture.

data center

The OpenPower Foundation has got traction in North America and last year unveiled efforts to grow in the Chinese market. Now the consortium launched by IBM three years ago is showcasing rapid growth in Europe.

At the group's inaugural OpenPower European Summit in Barcelona, Spain, this week, foundation members announced a series of OpenPower-based projects throughout the continent and the launch of an OpenPower developer cloud for use by European organizations. In addition, they unveiled new OpenPower-based offerings designed to improve the performance of modern workloads, such as artificial intelligence (AI), deep learning, analytics and high-performance computing (HPC).

The news coming out of the summit is another proof-point in the efforts of both OpenPower and IBM to not only become the primary alternative to Intel in the data center, but to become the processor architecture of choice for businesses that are trying to find ways to get more control of the massive amounts of data being generated.

"Commodity platforms are proving ineffective when it comes to ingesting and making sense of the 2.5 billion GBs of data being created daily," OpenPower Foundation President Calista Redmond said in a statement. "With today's announcements by our European members, the OpenPower Foundation expands its reach, bringing open-source, high-performing, flexible and scalable solutions to organizations worldwide."

Intel chips run more than 95 percent of servers in use, but organizations have been looking for a second source of silicon to help drive innovation, protect again supply chain issues and drive down costs. Advanced Micro Devices wants to be that other option with its x86-based chips—including the upcoming processors based on the "Zen" microarchitecture—ARM and its manufacturing partners, and IBM, with Power and the 270-member OpenPower Foundation.

Sixty of those members are from Europe.

The new projects and offerings are not the first efforts by OpenPower in Europe. For an example, the GENCI HPC agency in France last year announced it would use OpenPower technologies in its operations. Also last year, OpenPower members outlined ways the group was making inroads in China.

The GENCI was on the list of new projects for efforts around addressing the drive to exascale computing with the help of OpenPower technologies. In Germany, IBM, GPU-maker Nvidia and the Juelich Supercomputing Centre is providing a pilot supercomputer called Juron to the Human Brain Project, which is being funded by the European Commission. The supercomputer includes IBM's Power S822LC chip for HPC, Nvidia's NVLink interconnect technology and research offerings from OpenPower members.

In addition, the Barcelona Supercomputing Center (BSC) is using OpenPower technology for work at the IBM-BSC Deep Learning Center, while in Turkey, the SC3 Electronics supercomputing center is creating a large HPC cluster based on IBM's OpenPower LC servers.

Other announcements include the European arm of the Supervessel developer cloud initially launched in China and expanded by OpenPower members and the Technical University of Munich. The cloud is designed to deliver open remote access to supercomputing capabilities for developers and students, and will launch before the end of the year.

Meanwhile, the CAPI Snap Framework developed by IBM, Xilinx, Reconfigure.io, Rackspace, Alpha Data and others is now available to developers worldwide in beta. It is aimed at making field-programmable gate array (FPGA) acceleration technologies from the foundation more accessible to developers. Member Alpha Data highlighted a family of low-latency, low-power OpenPower Ready-compliant FPGA accelerator boards.