OpenPower Sees Momentum Going Into 2015
The ecosystem is increasingly active, he said. There are between eight and 12 partners that are developing their own Power-based systems, and some already are showing off what they've created. Tyan in October unveiled the GN70-BP010 OpenPower single-socket customer reference system, and Google is running tests on its own two-socket board. Wistron officials also are talking about their upcoming two-socket Power system. In addition, the program got a boost last month when the Department of Energy awarded IBM, Nvidia and Mellanox a $325 million contract to build two supercomputers for two national laboratories that will leverage technologies from the OpenPower Foundation. It's all good news for a group that understands the competition its faces. "We know we're going into a place where x86 is a dominant solution," McCredie said.It's pushing back at the challenge by ARM and its partners—including Advanced Micro Devices, Applied Micro, Cavium and, most recently, Qualcomm—on the low end and, now, IBM and OpenPower on the higher end. It's the system makers and their customers that stand to benefit. Not being Intel is an advantage for IBM, he said. "People are looking for an alternative to Intel," Moorhead said. "The industry likes to see competition out there." IBM's McCredie said OpenPower is a growing option for OEMs and ODMs as the architecture challenges x86 in such important areas as price/performance and energy efficiency and the ecosystem around it grows. "There are a lot of things influencing the industry that will get them to [adopt] OpenPower," he said. "People are looking for alternatives. People are looking for heterogeneity in the data center."
Moorhead agreed. Intel has been aggressive in building out its capabilities for scale-out environments, not only with its low-power Atom platform but also through such technologies as its upcoming 14-nanometer Xeon D system-on-a-chip (SoC) and its Xeon Phi coprocessors. In addition, the company is integrating FGPAs into the same package as Xeon CPUs and growing its custom-chip capabilities.