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IBM to license Power chips to keep them relevant

Mark Hachman | Aug. 7, 2013
IBM has decided to license the Power chip architecture to customers, who can then build chips based on the design.

IBM pledged that its licensing would be "open," revealing both the design of the chip and the software that goes with it to its licensees. So far, no other company has announced plans to sign a Power license, although the first members of the OpenPower Consortium—Google, Nvidia, board and server maker Tyan, and networking company Mellanox—would be likely candidates.

"Why would a cloud service provider want to design its own servers?" Rosamilia wrote. "The answer comes down to differentiation and economics. In this highly competitive technology marketplace, companies want to be able to provide capabilities such as big data analytics and targeted advertising at the highest performance levels and at the most competitive prices."

That strategy, in fact, has been embraced by Facebook, whose own Open Compute Project has developed reference designs for Xeon-based servers that OCP members have published to the Web. However, Google, which has also built servers for its own internal use, has so far declined to the join the OCP.

 

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