Tyan Preps $2,753 OpenPower Reference Server
October 13, 2014 Alex Woodie
Ever since IBM founded the OpenPower Foundation and announced it was opening up its Power processing architecture to the world, we’ve been waiting for the first non-IBM Power-based server to become available. That day will arrive soon thanks to Taiwanese motherboard and system maker Tyan.
Last week Tyan announced that, at the end of the month, it will begin delivery of the GN70-BP010. Codenamed “Palmetto,” it’s the first OpenPower customer reference system to become available to the general public.
GN70-BP010 is a 2U system that contains a single chip module (SCM) Power8 processor, codenamed “Turismo,” running on a single-socket, ATX-style motherboard. Tyan and its partner Google, both of whom are founding OpenPower Foundation members (along with IBM, Nvidia, Mellanox Technologies) revealed this motherboard, dubbed SP010GM2NR, back in April.
The GN70-BP010 comes with four 4 GB DDR3 main sticks, a single 500 GB hard drive, four SATA 3.0 ports running at 6 Gb/sec (implemented using a Marvell’s controller) and two Ethernet ports running at 1 Gb/sec, implemented using Broadcom’s controller. As you can see from the graphic below, Tyan is selling the unit for USD $2,753 FOB HK. This just includes the hardware, not the operating system (Tyan recommends Ubuntu 14.10). The buyer is responsible for all shipping, insurance, and import taxes (which is what “Free on Board Hong Kong,” or “FOB HK” means).
That’s not a bad price for a Power8 server, even one that’s running slower memory, a lower clock speed (Tyan has not revealed the speed of Turismo), and disk drives that do not support RAID. If you’re looking for a development box to play with and familiarize yourself with 64-bit Power technology, this could be just the ticket. Tyan has a limited number of these systems to sell, so if you want one, you’d best move quickly.
The Palmetto system doesn’t run IBM i out of the box, and it may take some hacking to get it to run. The system was designed to run Linux, which incidentally is the focus of the entire OpenPower exercise at this point in time. In any case, IBM i shops do have something to gain if OpenPower picks up steam and helps to bootstrap a bigger and more open market for Power-based servers. If that happens–it’s really too soon to tell if it will happen–then IBM i customers have the discussion with IBM over whether the IBM i OS ought to be one of the options for running on OpenPower gear.
The OpenPower Foundation has grown significantly since IBM and the other four founding members created the group last year. Today it has more than 61 members spread across various levels. Some of these other members, including Servergy, Inspur, ChuangHe, ZTE, and Hitachi, are planning on shipping their own reference systems.
In other OpenPower news, storage adapter maker QLogic last week announced that it has joined the foundation. QLogic plans to work with the group to ensure that its Ethernet and Fibre Channel adapters function as promised within the OpenPower community of compatible systems, components, and software.
“QLogic will enhance functionality for highly virtualized, open standards-based, cloud and Web-scale data centers based on the IBM Power platform,” QLogic’s vice president of marketing Vikram Karvat says. QLogic competes directly with Emulex, another OpenPower member, and somewhat with Mellanox, which is a founding member. As the OpenPower Foundation grows, it will invariably invite more competition for existing members, which will broaden what’s available and ultimately make the foundation stronger.