IBM's Power Play Aims to Disrupt Server Industry

IBM's Power Play Aims to Disrupt Server Industry
May 2013: IBM Opens Power Systems Linux Center to Aid Developers
June 2013: IBM Announces Plans to Support KVM on Power
July 2013: IBM Launches the PowerLinux 7R4 Server
August 2013: IBM, Google, Others Form OpenPOWER
September 2013: IBM Pledges $1 Billion for Linux on Power
November 2013: Powering Watson on Linux on Power
December 2013: OpenPOWER Forms, Begins Accepting New Members
January 2014: IBM Divests System x
February 2014: IBM Launches Power Development Platform
February 2014: IBM Announces Power on SoftLayer
April 2014: IBM Unveils POWER8 Systems at Open Innovation Summit
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IBM's Power Play Aims to Disrupt Server Industry

By Darryl K. Taft

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May 2013: IBM Opens Power Systems Linux Center to Aid Developers

A key move signaling IBM's stepped-up commitment to Linux on Power dates back to May 15, 2013, when IBM announced the opening of the world's first IBM Power Systems Linux Center in Beijing.

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June 2013: IBM Announces Plans to Support KVM on Power

During his keynote address at the Red Hat Summit in Boston on June 11, 2013, IBM's General Manager of Development and Manufacturing Arvind Krishna announced IBM's commitment to supporting KVM on Power in 2014. While IBM already supported KVM on its x86 servers, this move would allow clients to have greater choice when they adopt Linux-based systems to drive new workloads such as big data, cloud, mobile and social computing.

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July 2013: IBM Launches the PowerLinux 7R4 Server

IBM accelerated its Linux on Power initiative by introducing a new PowerLinux 7R4 server in July 2013. Geared toward the increasing number of organizations deploying business-critical and data-intensive workloads on Linux, the 7R4 provides users with access to the innate benefits of Power Systems to handle compute-intensive workloads such as big data and analytics, and cloud computing.

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August 2013: IBM, Google, Others Form OpenPOWER

In August 2013, IBM, along with Google, Nvidia, Mellanox and Tyan, announced plans to form an open development alliance based on IBM's POWER microprocessor architecture. With this announcement, IBM confirmed that it would for the first time be making its POWER server hardware and firmware available under license to other companies.

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September 2013: IBM Pledges $1 Billion for Linux on Power

On September 17, 2013, at LinuxCon, IBM announced a $1 billion investment exclusively toward funding Linux and open-source innovation projects on Power Systems. This investment is aimed at addressing the problem facing many of today's data centers, which is that many companies are struggling to manage big data and cloud computing workloads using commodity servers based on decades-old, PC-era technology.

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November 2013: Powering Watson on Linux on Power

In November 2013, IBM announced that its cognitive computing solution, Watson, would be available to developers over the cloud for the first time. Powered by POWER 7+ technology, Watson's API would be opened to developers in 2014. Watson, a former Jeopardy! winner, is built on the Power platform running Linux. Originally comprising a room with many servers, IBM has since compressed Watson's abilities into a single Power 750 server running Linux, offered from a cloud computing environment.

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December 2013: OpenPOWER Forms, Begins Accepting New Members

After officially forming in December 2013, the OpenPOWER Foundation began receiving dozens of membership inquires and applications. In January 2014, Chinese company Suzhou PowerCore Technology officially joined, followed one month later by Samsung Electronics. Today, there are 31 contributing members in the foundation and counting.

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January 2014: IBM Divests System x

Lenovo announced its intent to acquire IBM's x86 server business in January 2014. The $2.3 billion deal includes System x, BladeCenter and Flex System blade servers and switches, x86-based Flex integrated systems, NeXtScale and iDataPlex servers and the software, blade networking and maintenance operations associated with them. The divestiture continues IBM's move toward higher value technologies with homegrown innovation, such as its Power Systems and System z lines, and its dedication to pursuing the opportunities inherent with Linux in the cloud.

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February 2014: IBM Launches Power Development Platform

At its PartnerWorld Leadership Conference on Feb. 11, 2014, IBM officially launched its Power Development Platform (PDP), a development cloud that gives developers no-charge access to IBM Power Systems technology. The PDP gives users access to the same Linux-based hardware platform that powers Watson and will enable developers to build, port and test their big data applications on it.

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February 2014: IBM Announces Power on SoftLayer

IBM announced at the Pulse Cloud Computing Conference in February that Power Systems servers will be available for hosting and developing applications on SoftLayer, IBM's cloud infrastructure that's optimized for born-on-the-cloud applications. The first services that organizations will be able to build apps around will be from its Watson analytics engine.

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April 2014: IBM Unveils POWER8 Systems at Open Innovation Summit

At the Open Innovation Summit in San Francisco co-hosted by IBM and the OpenPOWER Foundation, Senior Vice President of IBM's Systems and Technology Group Tom Rosamilia (left) and IBM General Manager of Power Systems Doug Balog (right) revealed the company's POWER8 Power Systems, the first servers created with OpenPOWER technology to help companies manage massive amounts of data at record speed.

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