Recently, TYAN released its OpenPOWER Customer Reference System. OpenPOWER is an imitative to bring POWER architectures to more applications. IBM’s power architecture is still extremely popular in higher-end servers but x86 with Intel and AMD has really taken the mid-market over the past few years. ARM is making a move a the lower end of the market. TYAN had done well in the AMD server market, but with AMD abandoning the higher-end x86 market over the past few cycles, Tyan has been looking for a new platform as an Intel alternative. OpenPOWER seems to be one of those alternatives.
While POWER is a force in the mission critical and very large systems arena (where 8-socket Intel Xeon E7’s are considered lower-end) it is less popular in the general web computing arena. TYAN along with the OpenPOWER foundation are trying to make POWER more accessible. The company is offering a Power 8 based system for about $2700. The TYAN GN70-BP010 is a 2U system that contains an IBM Power 8 Turismo SCM processor, and 4x 240-pin DDR3 1600 ECC RDIMMs. The 2U chassis has 8x 3.5” hot-swap hard drive bays (four are usable via a Marvell 88SE9235 SATA3 controller) and supports 2x PCIe 3.0 ports. Of course, the servers are outfitted with a heatsink, 4x 4GB DDR3L ECC DIMMs and a 500GB 3.5” HDD L10 system. There are apparently redundant 770w power supplies (1+1) in the kit also. While these are not amazing specs by any means, the purpose of the system is to provide a lower cost development platform. At around $2700, this makes the architecture much more accessible.
TYAN says that the GN70-BP010, will be available at the end of October 2014. TYAN also announced a special promotion of TYAN GN70-BP010 http://www.tyan.com/campaign/openpower/ Which has the details on the promotion including the price FOB Hong Kong.
While this is still not likely a mainstream solution, it will run Ubuntu 14.10 and is starting to get down to the prices where software developers might be able to purchase a lab box. If one does a quick search on ebay, the price for the previous generation Power8 servers is still at minimum twice the price of this TYAN solution. It is certainly a move in the right direction in terms of pricing for OpenPOWER systems.