The OpenPOWER Foundation is a collaboration around Power ISA-based products initiated by IBM and announced as the "OpenPOWER Consortium" on August 6, 2013. IBM is opening up technology surrounding their Power Architecture offerings, such as processor specifications, firmware and software with a liberal license, and will be using a collaborative development model with their partners.
|Formation||August 6, 2013|
|Founder||Google, IBM, Mellanox, NVIDIA, Tyan|
|Purpose||Member companies are enabled to customize POWER CPU processors and system platforms for optimization and innovation for their business needs.|
|The Linux Foundation|
Power.org is still the governing body around the Power ISA instruction set but specific implementations are now free to use under a liberal license granted by IBM. Processors based on IBM's IP can now be fabricated on any foundry and mixed with other hardware products of the integrator's choice.
On August 20, 2019, IBM announced that the OpenPOWER Foundation would become part of The Linux Foundation.
- They are licensing the microprocessor technology openly to its partners. They are sharing the blueprints to their hardware and software to their partners, so they can hire IBM or other companies to manufacture processors or other related chips.
- They will collaborate openly in an open-collaboration business model where participants share technologies and innovations with each other.
- Advantages via open-source software such as the Linux operating system.
IBM is looking to offer the POWER8 chip technology and other future iterations under the OpenPOWER initiative but they are also making previous designs available for licensing. Partners are required to contribute intellectual property to the OpenPOWER Foundation to be able to gain high level status.
The POWER8 processor architecture incorporates facilities to integrate it more easily into custom designs. The generic memory controllers are designed to evolve with future technologies, and the new CAPI (Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface) expansion bus is built to integrate easily with external coprocessors like GPUs, ASICs and FPGAs.
Nvidia is contributing their fast interconnect technology, NVLink, that will enable tight coupling of Nvidia's Pascal based graphics processors into future POWER processors.
The OpenPOWER initiative will include firmware, the KVM hypervisor, and little endian Linux operating system. The foundation has a site on GitHub for the software they are releasing as open source. As of July 2014, it has released firmware to boot Linux.
FreeBSD has also been reported to have preliminary support for the architecture.
Google, Tyan, Nvidia, and Mellanox are founding members of the OpenPOWER Foundation. Nvidia is looking to merge its graphics cores and Mellanox to integrate its high performance interconnects with Power cores. Tyan is said to be working on servers using POWER8 and Google sees using POWER processors in its data centers as a future possibility. Altera announced support for OpenPOWER in November 2013 with their FPGA offerings and OpenCL software.
On January 19, 2014, the Suzhou PowerCore Technology Company and the Research Institute of Jiangsu Industrial Technology announced that they will join the OpenPOWER Foundation and license POWER8 technologies to promote and help build systems around and design custom made processors for use in big data and cloud computing applications. On February 12, 2014, Samsung Electronics joined. As of March 2014, additional members are Altera, Fusion-io, Hynix, Micron, Servergy, and Xilinx. As of April 2014, Canonical, Chuanghe Mobile, Emulex, Hitachi, Inspur, Jülich Research Centre, Oregon State University, Teamsun, Unisource Technology Inc, and ZTE are listed as members at various levels. As of December 2014, Rackspace, Avnet, Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, Sandia National Laboratories, Tsinghua University, Nallatech, Bull, and Qlogic have joined, totaling about 80 members.
As of late 2016, the OpenPOWER foundation has more than 250 members.
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