By Brad McCredie, President, OpenPOWER Foundation
The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step. – Lao Tzu, Chinese Philosopher
Two years ago, on August 6, 2013, IBM, along with Google, Tyan, NVIDIA and Mellanox, came together to announce the creation of OpenPOWER with the goal of building a worldwide collaborative ecosystem based on IBM’s POWER architecture. This bold move reversed the ongoing trend of data center architectures becoming increasingly closed. IBM built a broad partnership with technology providers and clients to build an open data center platform that would allow collaboration and foster innovation. Nobody knew exactly what would happen next, but we all knew that for better or worse we would be turning the world of IT infrastructure on its head.
Until that moment, Internet-scale cloud providers and other compute-centric industries had been forced to use one-size-fits-all servers powered by commodity x86 processors. The market lacked choice, and the trend was moving towards a completely closed, one supplier architecture. That’s what we set out to disrupt, and with technology innovators and consumers alike now able to license and modify POWER technologies, anyone can design or purchase systems custom-tailored to their needs. This open licensing has helped to grow a vast ecosystem of developers, ISVs, hardware manufacturers, academic centers, and individuals all committed to advancing innovation around OpenPOWER.
The secret sauce of OpenPOWER lies in the open business model, which allows this ecosystem to continue to deliver innovation through collaboration. This has led to over a dozen new hardware solutions and we’re not stopping there. Today, there are 147 members across 22 countries in the OpenPOWER Foundation, and thousands of developers working on bringing new OpenPOWER-based innovations to market. There are now more than 1600 Linux applications running on POWER, including popular database and data analytics applications like Redis Labs, MariaDB, Hadoop, MongoDB, Zend and Apache Spark, as well as HPC applications like AMBER, GROMACS, NAMD, GAMESS, WRF, HYCOM, BLAST, BWA, Bowtie and SOAP. The collaboration that is taking place is staggering. We’ve got hundreds of collaborative projects and POCs underway across members and together with end-users.
These solutions and applications are being built around the globe, as OpenPOWER members have established dozens of hands-on development centers around the world that provide tools and access to the latest OpenPOWER platforms. In addition, developers can now utilize OpenPOWER anywhere thanks to SuperVessel, a free OpenPOWER-based cloud service designed to bring university students, business partners and developers into the growing ecosystem to create apps.
In the cutting edge arena of HPC, OpenPOWER is emerging as a leader, as members introduce several supercomputing centers where researchers and developers can take advantage of GPU-acceleration on OpenPOWER-compatible systems and drive new technology development. These include the POWER Acceleration and Design Center in Montpellier, France, the Jülich Supercomputing Center in Germany, and state-of-the-art supercomputers at the Oak Ridge and Lawrence Livermore National Laboratories (US). Validation of the open strategy has come in key wins with the US Dept of Energy CORAL project and a significant investment from the STFC in the UK.
As Lao Tzu said, every journey begins with a single step, and we’ve been amazed at what we’ve discovered, created, and disrupted along ours. As with every journey, we are still working our way along, and we couldn’t be more excited about revealing what lays ahead for OpenPOWER and the revolution we’ve only just begun.
About Brad McCredie
Dr. Bradley McCredie is an IBM Fellow, Vice President of IBM Power Systems Development and President of the OpenPOWER Foundation. Brad first joined IBM focusing on packaging for IBM’s mainframe systems. He later took a position within the IBM Power Systems development organization and has since worked in a variety of development and executive roles for POWER-based systems. In his current role, he oversees the development and delivery of IBM Power Systems that incorporate the latest technology advancements to support clients’ changing business needs.