Today, IBM and Xilinx announced a formal, joint strategic collaboration to develop higher performance and energy-efficient data center applications using Xilinx-based, FPGA-enabled workload acceleration on IBM POWER-based systems. As the press release states, this collaboration will “develop open acceleration infrastructures, software and middleware to address emerging applications such as machine learning, network functions virtualization (NFV), genomics, high performance computing (HPC) and big data analytics.” As part of the IBM and Xilinx strategic collaboration, IBM Systems Group developers will create solution stacks for POWER-based servers, storage and middleware systems with Xilinx FPGA accelerators for data center architectures such as OpenStack, Docker, and Spark. IBM will also develop and qualify Xilinx accelerator boards into IBM Power Systems servers.
“The combination of IBM and Xilinx provides our clients not only with a new level of accelerated computing made possible by the tight integration between IBM POWER processors and Xilinx FPGAs, but also gives them the ability to benefit directly from the constant stream of innovation being delivered by the rapidly expanding OpenPOWER ecosystem,” said Ken King, General Manager, OpenPOWER, IBM.
For its part, Xilinx is developing and will release POWER-based versions of its leading software defined SDAccel Development Environment and libraries for the OpenPOWER developer community. In addition, Xilinx has deepened its investment in the OpenPOWER Foundation, has raised its foundation membership to Platinum level, and has been approved for a Board Director position.
I see this agreement as a huge extension of the memcached acceleration work covered in last week’s Xcell Daily blog titled “Memcached KVS implementation services requests in 3 to 5 microseconds instead of hundreds or thousands using FPGAs and CAPI.” This technique melds the OpenPOWER Foundation’s coherent CAPI interface, high-speed PCIe connections, multiple PCIe-centric DMA controllers, and FPGA- and hardware-based application accelerators to both speed up applications by more than an order of magnitude and to cut power consumption in the data center. Both of these benefits are huge wins for the HPC (high-performance computing), NFV, and cloud-computing communities and take POWER8-based systems to computing spaces where the promise of Moore’s Law falls short.
Boards that can take advantage of OpenPOWER’s CAPI protocol are already on the market. For example, Xcell Daily covered the announcement of Alpha Data’s CAPI Acceleration Development Kit earlier this year. (See “CAPI Acceleration Development Kit brings coherent FPGA acceleration to IBM POWER8 servers.”)
Note: For more Xcell Daily coverage of CAPI, see “Low-Power Coherent Accelerator Board boosts performance of IBM Power8 Servers through CAPI.”