The cat is out of the bag for Power7

Well the news is out that IBM has been selected by the US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) to develop a machine that provides 100 times the sustained performance of today’s general purpose supercomputers and is dramatically simpler to program, administer and use.

The machine will be Power7 based to be delivered in 2010 and beyond and will include, the AIX® operating system, IBM’s General Parallel File System, IBM’s Parallel Environment, and IBM’s Interconnect and Storage Subsystems — technologies that are key to IBM’s commercial product portfolio.

The DARPA project is one of the drivers for the n+1 generation of System p servers as the solution delivered to DARPA has to be a “commercial off the shelf” (COTS) system. However there are some really exciting things that we will be doing that go above and beyond the DARPA project that will change the face of enterprise computing, especially in total cost of ownership (TCO).

You can read the formal press release on the DARPA project here.

Meanwhile, much to do before then on both system design, packaging and software exploitation much of which will come with the Power6 based servers slated for 2007.

2 Responses to “The cat is out of the bag for Power7”

  1. 1 Alan M. Feldstein January 31, 2007 at 10:43 am

    Given that POWER7 is expected to emerge in 2010, the design (especially the core design) is certainly well under way. Therefore, I don’t understand why IBM’s Systems and Technology Group (STG) has not yet posted front-end microprocessor design jobs at

    Job Area: Engineering
    Job Type: Full-time Regular
    Job Level: Experienced Professional
    Keywords: STG

    I don’t accept the common rhetoric that a company’s most important assets are its people. The most important assets are its intellectual property. Nevertheless, a project doesn’t get done without people. STG will be looking for those who specialize in 64-bit PowerPC, to develop a powerful and innovative design. One wonders when STG will commence this activity.

    With a $244 million DARPA contract, and IBM’s stock price moving generally upward since last summer, Bill Zeitler’s finger must be getting close to the trigger.

  2. 2 cathcam January 31, 2007 at 11:59 am

    Yes Alan the design is indeed well underway, we have regular Design Core Team meetings and the 2010 date for the PERCS based system and a reasonable estimate for the high end systems. Thats not to say we won’t have other products before that date.

    I’m really not involved or work for the engineering team so can’t comment on their people requirements. On the other hand I can tell you that it’s people and teams that create IP, and so I’ll stick with the company on its’ People – Assets pay off after people have gone, but without people to build-on and enhance the assets, they would wither and die.

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About & Contact

I'm Mark Cathcart, formally a Senior Distinguished Engineer, in Dells Software Group; before that Director of Systems Engineering in the Enterprise Solutions Group at Dell. Prior to that, I was IBM Distinguished Engineer and member of the IBM Academy of Technology. I am a Fellow of the British Computer Society ( I'm an information technology optimist.

I was a member of the Linux Foundation Core Infrastructure Initiative Steering committee. Read more about it here.

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