Google, IBM and NVIDIA partake in OpenPOWER Consortium, a dev group for data centers

It's a rare occurrence to see Google, NVIDIA and IBM working lockstep towards a common goal, but the aforesaid trio has joined Mellanox and Tyan in order to launch a development group for data centers. The aptly-titled OpenPOWER Consortium is hailed as a "development alliance based on IBM's POWER microprocessor architecture." We're told that it intends to concoct "advanced server, networking, storage and GPU-acceleration technology aimed at delivering more choice, control and flexibility to developers of next-generation, hyperscale and cloud data centers." Sounds pretty bold, and it'll require IBM to offer up open-source POWER firmware to those participating. Moreover, NVIDIA and IBM will be jointly working to integrate the CUDA GPU and POWER ecosystems, but beyond that, it's not entirely clear what the immediate impact on mankind will be. You're more than welcome to take stabs in comments, though.

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Google, IBM, Mellanox, NVIDIA, Tyan Announce Development Group for Data Centers
Marks industry first as IBM offers POWER technology for open development

SAN FRANCISCO, Aug. 6, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- Google, IBM (NYSE: IBM), Mellanox, NVIDIA and Tyan today announced plans to form the OpenPOWER Consortium – an open development alliance based on IBM's POWER microprocessor architecture. The Consortium intends to build advanced server, networking, storage and GPU-acceleration technology aimed at delivering more choice, control and flexibility to developers of next-generation, hyperscale and cloud data centers.

The move makes POWER hardware and software available to open development for the first time as well as making POWER IP licensable to others, greatly expanding the ecosystem of innovators on the platform. The consortium will offer open-source POWER firmware, the software that controls basic chip functions. By doing this, IBM and the consortium can offer unprecedented customization in creating new styles of server hardware for a variety of computing workloads.

"The founding members of the OpenPOWER Consortium represent the next generation in data-center innovation," said Steve Mills, senior vice president, and group executive, IBM Software & Systems. "Combining our talents and assets around the POWER architecture can greatly increase the rate of innovation throughout the industry. Developers now have access to an expanded and open set of server technologies for the first time. This type of 'collaborative development' model will change the way data center hardware is designed and deployed."

"We are happy taking part in the OpenPOWER Consortium and its mission to further accelerate the rate of innovation, performance and efficiency for advanced data center solutions," said Gilad Shainer, vice president of marketing at Mellanox Technologies. "Open source and community development are key to enabling innovative computer platforms and better serve the scalable and emerging applications in the areas of high-performance, Web 2.0 and cloud computing. Mellanox's mission is to provide the most efficient interconnect solution for all compute and CPU architectures and deliver the highest return-on-investment to our users."

As part of their initial collaboration within the consortium, NVIDIA and IBM will work together to integrate the CUDA GPU and POWER ecosystems.

"The OpenPOWER Consortium brings together an ecosystem of hardware, system software, and enterprise applications that will provide powerful computing systems based on NVIDIA GPUs and POWER CPUs," said Sumit Gupta, general manager of the Tesla Accelerated Computing Business at NVIDIA.

"OpenPOWER will bring a new wave of innovation to next-generation data centers," said Albert Mu, general manager of Tyan Computer and vice president of MiTAC International Corp. "A strong ecosystem built around OpenPOWER will bring a range of new technology choices to market, offering more capabilities for Tyan's customers."

OpenPOWER is open to any firm that wants to innovate on the POWER platform and participate in an open, collaborative effort. For more information about the consortium and how to join contact, info@open-power.org.