Rackspace Joins IBM OpenPower, Reduces Reliance on Intel

By Jeffrey Burt  |  Posted 2014-12-17 Print this article Print
data center

IBM, with its Power architecture, has been a significant player in high-end servers. The OpenPower Foundation is focusing most of its efforts on the scale-out environments, Brad McCredie, an IBM Fellow, vice president of IBM Power systems and president of the OpenPower Foundation, told eWEEK in a recent interview.

Intel is the dominant architecture in the space, but customers want options, according to Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights and Strategy. The choices in the scale-out space are growing, with both OpenPower and ARM looking to gain traction.

"People are looking for an alternative to Intel," Moorhead told eWEEK. "The industry likes to see competition out there."

The OpenPower Foundation has gained momentum over the past year. Not only has the membership grown, but the ecosystem is making strides. Original design manufacture (ODM) Tyan has a customer reference system on the market, Google is testing its own OpenPower-based motherboard, and officials with ODM Wistron are talking about an upcoming two-socket system. The group is continuing to push accelerators and advanced networking for the Power architecture, and McCredie said more OpenPower-based systems are coming next year.

The foundation was bolstered in November when the Department of Energy awarded IBM, Nvidia and Mellanox a $325 million contract to build two supercomputers using OpenPower technologies, and in February the group will host its first member summit.

Rackspace will be among those offering new systems. The company will come out with an OpenPower-based platform that it will submit to the OCP and integrate with OpenStack cloud service, Sullivan said.

"The way we use servers is already changing," he wrote. "We're already seeing the lines beginning to blur between conventional processors, memory and storage. End users will continue to ask for more, and we need the software and solutions to enable them."

Rackspace wants to offer open solutions that touch on the entire stack, from hardware and firmware through to operating systems and applications, Sullivan wrote. OpenStack and the OCP are helping that push already.

"It's our vision that OpenPOWER enables OpenStack and Open Compute developers to work all the way down the stack," he wrote. "Where Open Compute opened and revolutionized data center hardware and OpenStack opened up cloud software and infrastructure-as-a-service, OpenPOWER is doing the same for the last black boxes in our servers: chips, buses, and firmware."



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