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Chipzilla veteran joins IBM's OpenPOWER

Rani Borkar borged by Big Blue

IBM has tapped former Intel product development veteran Rani Borkar as veep for development of its OpenPOWER project.

Borkar left Chipzilla at the end of last year, after 27 years with the company. At Intel, she specialised in chips for PCs and data centres – for example, speaking for Intel when it first started pitching its then-yet-to-launch Broadwell architecture.

Intel says Borkar has led its Core, Atom, Xeon and Itanium engineering teams before working on system-on-a-chip (SoC) efforts.

Unlike more recent departures, her exit happened without fuss.

The Oregonian says Borkar will be based at IBM's Hillsboro facility, one of three that handle OpenPOWER (the other two are in Austin Texas, and in China).

With OpenPOWER, IBM hopes to sling its Power-series silicon into the data centre space, practically the only PC architecture market segment that can be described as “burgeoning” rather than “flatlining”.

It's hoping that copying the ARM model in the smartphone space will turn its Power series chips into a viable hyperscale alternative to Intel's x86 architecture.

Big Blue dropped its first OpenPOWER development offerings in 2013: a development board and reference design, along with firmware and operating system technology co-developed with Canonical and Google.

The first OpenPOWER-badged server to land without IBM on the decal landed last year, and in April IBM announced that Power9 will be a 24-core design.

Borkar will have her work cut out for her, since her remit will be to try and turn Power into something more than a niche technology on Chipzilla's home territory. Power9 won't land until 2017, and Chinese “partner chips” using the architecture will follow in 2018 to 2020. ®

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