• Yokemate of Keyboards
    Yokemate of Keyboards
    Posts: 12097 from 2003/5/22
    From: Germany

    > still no more technical details on POWER8 available to the general public.

    "The Power8 chip [...] will have on-chip PCI-Express 3.0 controllers -- something IBM has been sorely lacking this year with the Power7+ chips -- which will put it on par with Intel's Xeon chips. Interestingly, the Power8 chip will get rid of the GX++ InfiniBand links used to plug in external peripheral drawers for Power Systems machines and replace it them something called the Coherently Allocated Processor Interface, or CAPI for short. This is an overlay that will ride atop the PCI-Express 3.0 mechanicals to provide coherent memory addressing for CPUs and external coprocessors like Nvidia GPUs."

    Furthermore, IBM and partners have founded the OpenPOWER Consortium to allow licensing of IBM POWER chip technology (and related technologies):


    "Google, 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 [...]. 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. [...] 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."

    "Under the OpenPOWER initiative, IBM will license the core intellectual property for our POWER technologies to other companies [...]. Up until now, IBM primarily used the POWER design in its own servers. This new initiative makes it possible for cloud services and their technology providers to redesign the chips and circuit boards where computing is done -- optimizing the interactions of microprocessors, memory, networking, data storage and other components. As a result, they can get servers that are custom-tuned for their applications. [...] we are licensing the microprocessor technology to other companies openly -- meaning they get to look at the blueprints for the processor and the software that goes with it so they can take full advantage of its capabilities. The cloud service providers will be able to hire IBM or other companies to manufacture the processors and other related chips. [...] this announcement shows our commitment to aggressive investment in our POWER processors and servers. Other innovations will come from our partners."

    "The plan [...] is to open up the intellectual property for the Power architecture and to allow customizations by licensees, just like ARM Holdings has done brilliantly with its ARM processors [...]. "The way the industry is innovating is shifting," says McCredie. "[...] And so we are taking our Power IP, opening it up as well as decomposing it -- the processor, the firmware, all of the key pieces -- to enable people to innovate around Power platforms. [...]" There is a confluence of different factors that have compelled IBM to open up the Power architecture. McCredie said that in the past, system makers of all kinds [...] were content to get the performance or total cost of ownership goals they have for machines by innovating at the motherboard or system level. But now, this is shifting and companies want to innovate at the chip level, particularly as processors, networking, and storage functions are being brought down onto system-on-chip, or SoC, packages [...] with chip etching technologies now sufficiently small that these different components can be put into a single die or within a single package. [...] the basic idea is that IBM will control the Power instruction set, much as ARM Holdings does with the ARM instruction set. In days gone by, people might have wanted to innovate at the instruction set level, but McCredie says this is less important today, and being able to add functions to a Power core (or a collection of them with cache memories and such) is what people want to be able to do. [...] while IBM would love for potential future Power chip designers to use its wafer baker in East Fishkill, New York, that will not be a requirement. Without naming names, McCredie says that IBM will work with consortium members to find alternate fabs for Power chips. [...] Nvidia, which is an ARM licensee, is not about to become a Power licensee, says Sumit Gupta, general manager of the Tesla Accelerated Computing business unit. But Nvidia is very excited about the prospects of marrying Power processors and Nvidia GPUs for both HPC and general purpose systems. [...] "And I personally see this about IBM backing CUDA [...]. They bring a high performance CPU to the party, and we have a high-performance GPU. [...]" [...] The OpenPower Consortium is not restricting the licensing of any particular Power chip technology, but McCredie says that it is really focused on next year's Power8 chip and onwards."

    "IBM [...] will soon begin offering licenses for its venerable Power architecture to other companies, allowing them to build their own Power chips for "servers, networking, and storage devices." [...] "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, in a statement. IBM and Nvidia will be working together to make the Power architecture and Nvidia's CUDA platform play nicely with one another. The first architecture to be available to licensees will be the upcoming Power8 architecture [...]."

    "IBM's Openpower Consortium is also an attempt to mirror British semiconductor firm ARM's business model, licensing its technology to system builders and chip suppliers but not manufacturering the chips itself, though the news doesn't mean IBM has plans to stop making its own Power chips. Like ARM it seems that IBM's new alliance is an attempt to break into a growing server niche of energy efficient chips that go into a new breed of servers that save space and minimise power consumption."

    "IBM will license designs of the Power microprocessor architecture to other companies including Google, in an effort to expand use of the architecture and reverse declines in its systems hardware business. Intellectual property of the chip design is being opened up as part of a development alliance called OpenPower Consortium that IBM announced with Google on Tuesday. Consortium members will be able to make Power chips based on architecture designs [...]. [...] The first products from alliance partners could be based on IBM's upcoming Power8 design, said Brad McCredie, vice president and chief technology officer at IBM's Systems and Technology Group (STG), in an interview. [...] In an email statement, Google said the OpenPower Consortium "has the potential to establish Power architecture as a viable option for applications running within Google's datacenters." Google designs its own servers, and the search company could design its own integrated chip -- also called system-on-chip -- based on the Power architecture, said Dean McCarron, principal analyst at Mercury Research. [...] Tyan will be the first company to release a server based on the Power architecture, and said in a statement that the system was projected as an alternative to x86 servers. IBM has also included a feature in Power8 for component makers to easily attach their intellectual property to the chip. More companies will join the alliance in the coming months, McCredie said. Third parties could release new system-on-chips based on Power in a few years, McCredie said, adding that the design cycle lasts two years or more. The Power IP is also being opened up to manufacturers, and IBM will continue to make chips for third parties. [...] IBM's Power architecture brings more reliability, processing power and longevity to servers in cloud deployments, McCredie said, adding that the company is targeting the growing Asia market through the new OpenPower alliance. The Power architecture and chips will continue to be developed for data centers, and likely not go in the direction of smartphone and tablet chips such as Intel's Atom x86 chips or ARM, McCredie said. IBM's Power chip design for servers is not the same as Power designs being used in microcontrollers from companies like Freescale Semiconductor. McCredie said that opening up the Power architecture is also complementary to the Facebook-backed Open Compute Project, which focuses mostly on server designs. IBM has been trying to push the Power architecture into other applications for many years, but rather than growing in opportunity, the market for the chip has been shrinking, said Jim McGregor, principal analyst at Tirias Research. [...] One of the more interesting aspects of OpenPower is IBM and Google partnering with Nvidia, which is tuning its CUDA parallel programming toolkit for Power processors."
  • »06.08.13 - 23:50