IBM for decades was the only company making servers based on its proprietary Power architecture, but that’s not the case anymore.
Servergy will be the first server maker outside IBM to use Power chips in its Cleantech Server CTS-1000, a blade server the size of a legal pad. The server is the first product being announced after IBM said last August that it would license its Power architecture to third parties.
The server maker also said it would join the IBM-led OpenPower Consortium, which focuses on software and hardware development around the Power architecture. Tyan, a member of the consortium, said last August that it would build a Power server, but it hasn’t announced a product yet. Other consortium members are Nvidia, Google, Samsung Electronics, Mellanox, Suzhou PowerCore Technology Company, Fusion-IO, Xilinx and Altera, which joined on Monday.
The new server also makes Power a competitor in a chip architecture battle involving x86 processors, which dominate the server market, and ARM, which is emerging as a credible threat. Power servers were largely relegated to IBM’s mainframes and servers running Unix or Linux operating systems, but Servergy’s blade server brings the architecture to low-end and midrange server markets. IBM started OpenPower Consortium with the hope of extending Power chips into more servers.
Servergy did not respond to a request for the Cleantech Server CTS-1000 price, but the company is taking orders for the product. The server weighs 4.08 kilograms and can run multiple Linux distributions such as Ubuntu, Red Hat or Suse.
The server is targeted at cloud and big-data workloads, Servergy said.
The server has an eight-core Power processor running at 1.5GHz, but it was not clear if the server was based on IBM’s new Power8 processor, which is being licensed to third parties. The server has PCI-Express 2.0 ports, which points to processors being based on older Power7 or Power6 chip designs, as Power8 has moved over to PCI-Express 3.0 as its standard interconnect technology.
Servergy did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the configuration. As part of IBM’s licensing deals, third-party chip makers can modify Power architectures and then sell them to server makers.
The Cleantech server consumes around 100 watts of power at maximum loads, and provides “16 times or more the I/O and compute density over traditional server technology,” Servergy said in a statement.
The server supports up to 32GB of DDR3 RAM, has two 10 Gigabit ethernet and two Gigabit ethernet ports, and multiple storage bays.