Friday, September 28, 2012

Power Architecture Related Tracks Proposed for UDS-r

On my ramp-up toward UDS-r, I've created some blueprints and pinged some related folks to get them into the proper tracks.

I'm hoping to get a lot of interest and discussion around there, so here they are:

So this covers a wide range of topics. The most in-depth one is the Virtualization blueprint. As of yet, I've not seen a lot of broad support for non-x86 in OpenStack and related software. While it works (I've set it up), it just doesn't do a lot to make me happy happy.

The boot loaders blueprint is basically an RFC. The idea of Power architecture on a non-embedded system not having OpenFirmware is about on par with Dell selling an Intel system without a BIOS. The Power systems do have u-Boot (Das Boot), but that's not as robust as it needs to be. I'm thinking something like grub2 being compiled agains the u-Boot API that u-Boot can load modularly or perhaps something like the kexec based loader that the ps3 used.

Finally, the kernel development is a host discussion that needs to be hammered out with the Canonical Kernel Team so we can all be happy and not step on the primary architectures, but still being able to spread some support for newer Power equipment.

Cheers and see you in Denmark!

EDIT: Updated link for boot loaders blueprint

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The Rack Revolution

As I sit here in my cozy home on my comfy couch, I am bewildered and amazed at just how far things have come in the last decade.

Let's take a quick inventory of my immediate surroundings:

  • Laptop
  • WiFi
  • Smart Phone
  • HD TV
  • High Speed Internet
  • Server Farm

Hmm...that last one's a bit different from the old days. I used to have a nice collection of loudly humming, room-warming servers in my garage. As a telecommuter, I needed it. My blog was running on it, my email was running on it and my firewall was running on it.

What happened? Well, we all know the answer to that question: things consolidated into the "Cloud." Instead of under-the-table boxes running our local services, we now have providers doing the heavy (literally) lifting for us.

So what do they run on? Practically the same loudly humming room-warmers that we used to keep under our desks. However, in recent years, the move is being made to lower the operating costs of these rack farms into quiet, low-powered, self-cooling, maintainable animals.

As most places have tried to just tone down, or spread thin, some have been making the move to efficiency. Enter the reverse revolution of the CPU to something more applicable to today's computing needs. Instead of powering with high-wattage x86 chips, many are dipping their toes into the shallow end of the alternative-processor kiddy-pool.

And with that I introduce an amazing NEW and WILD CPU: PowerPC!

Oh, you've heard of it? It's legacy and old-hat, you say? I must be thinking of a different PowerPC CPU then. The company I've been gainfully employed with for the past 1.5 years seems to be using something quite different than your grandmother's Power chip. Not quite the behemoth of the IBM Power7 iron (in size nor noise), but not the wussy of your old PowerMac neither.

We're talking multiway SoCs with full floating-point running at a fraction of the wattage of just about anything else on the market. Add with it full hardware virtualization (via KVM), and you begin to see where in the market this is headed.

We've already been engaging multiple Linux and software vendors to give a complete and first rate experience on this new class of hardware. You'll have multiple choices when it comes to supporting and administrating, whether it's one system or a room full of racks filled.

So here's my not-so-humble way of introducing you to Servergy, Inc.. They've been around for 3 years, but expect to be hearing a lot more about us in the coming months. If you're going to be at a Linux or Cloud/Server related event in the near future, chances are you will run into one of us. I'll actually be at Ubuntu's UDS-r in Copenhagen at the end of October. I'm hoping to have a live demonstration while I'm there.


NOTE: In this article I am speaking solely on my behalf. None of what I've said can be taken as a statement by the company I work for: Servergy, Inc.