IBM has announced a partnership with Google, Nvidia and others to form the OpenPower Consortium to push the development of next-generation data centre infrastructure with a focus on IBM's own Power chips.
The move, which could be seen as a counter to the Open Compute project founded by Facebook, will also see IBM make its Power hardware and software available to open development for the first time, as well as making its associated intellectual property available for licensing to others.
As well as IBM, Google and Nvidia, the initial members of the OpenPower Consortium include Mellanox, which makes Ethernet and InfiniBand switches, plus server and motherboard maker Tyan.
IBM said the Consortium will aim to build advanced server, networking, storage and GPU-acceleration technology aimed at delivering more choice, control and flexibility to data centre developers.
Nvidia's involvement will see it and IBM work together to integrate Nvidia's CUDA GPU technology into Power-based ecosystems.
Key aspects of the Consortium's strategy revolve around IBM's Power architecture and the Linux operating system. IBM believes that its Power chips are better suited to the kind of scale-out server applications seen in data centres than Intel's x86 chips, and is seeking to use the lessons it has learned from Linux's open development model to drive OpenPower.
Writing on IBM's Smarter Planet blog, senior vice president of the Systems and Technology Group Tom Rosamilia said that many cloud data centres are today built around servers based on technologies that originated in the personal computing era. "It's a one-size-fits-all approach that's out of sync with the demands of the cloud era," he claimed.
Under the OpenPower scheme, IBM will license the intellectual property behind its Power chips to others, which will enable cloud service providers to hire IBM or other companies to manufacture the processors and other related chips, and end up with servers that are custom tuned for their applications, Rosamilia said.
In this respect, the OpenPower initiative can be compared to the Open Compute Project, which has already had some success with its emphasis on collaborative development to drive relevant technologies forward.
"IBM learned a crucial lesson about the power of collaboration when we threw our weight behind Linux in 1999," said Rosamilia. "I expect the same sort of outcome in cloud computing. If IBM and its consortium partners can create a healthy business ecosystem around a core of shared technologies, the possibilities are endless."
Cotton seedling freezes to death as Chang'e-4 shuts down for the Moon's 14-day lunar night
Fortnite easily out-earns PUBG, Assassin's Creed Odyssey and Red Dead Redemption 2 in 2018
Meteor showers as a service will be visible for about 100 kilometres in all directions
Saturn's rings only formed in the past 100 million years, suggests analysis of Cassini space probe data
New findings contradict conventional belief that Saturn's rings were formed along with the planet about 4.5 billion years ago