IBM has lifted the lid on SuperVessel, an open access cloud service intended to let students and developers experiment with building applications for the OpenPower ecosystem based on IBM's Power architecture processors, all for no charge.
Officially announced at the OpenPower Foundation Summit in Beijing, SuperVessel has been developed by Beijing's IBM Research and IBM Systems Labs, and has already attracted users from 30 universities in the six months since its creation, IBM said.
However, the firm is now opening it to the wider global community of students and developers who may wish to get involved in building applications for the OpenPower ecosystem.
IBM describes SuperVessel as like a virtual research and development engine for the creation and testing of applications covering areas such as the Internet of Things (IoT).
Terri Virnig, IBM's vice president for Power ecosystem and strategy, said that the move demonstrates IBM's commitment to supporting OpenPower development, as well as nurturing talent and research innovation.
"SuperVessel is a significant contribution by IBM research and development to OpenPower and open technology development," he said.
"Combining advanced technologies from IBM Labs and many business partners, SuperVessel is the industry's leading open research and development resource."
The SuperVessel cloud is based on systems running IBM's Power8 processors, and is managed using the OpenStack framework. The Power8 systems are equipped with GPUs and field-programmable gate array logic to provide hardware acceleration for specific functions.
SuperVessel is divided into online labs, which allow users to build and test apps targeting separate areas. These include big data, IoT, acceleration virtualisation and Power technology, IBM said.
The latest move follows the introduction of Power8 servers into IBM's SoftLayer public cloud infrastructure earlier this year, all part of Big Blue's strategy to push the Power architecture as a rival to x86 systems for demanding workloads such as high-performance computing, big data and analytics.
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