Compiling your own firmware for Barreleye (OpenCompute OpenPOWER system)

Aaron Sullivan announced on the Rackspace Blog that you can now get your own Barreleye system! What’s great is that the code for the Barreleye platform is upstream in the op-build project, which means you can build your own firmware for them (just like garrison, the “IBM S822LC for HPC” system I blogged about a few days ago).

Remarkably, to build an image for the host firmware, it’s eerily similar to any other platform:

git clone --recursive
cd op-build
. op-build-env
op-build barreleye_defconfig

…and then you wait. You can cross compile on x86.

You’ve been able to build firmware for these machines with upstream code since Feb/March (I wouldn’t recommend running with builds from then though, try the latest release instead).

Hopefully, someone involved in OpenBMC can write on how to build the BMC firmware.

OpenPOWER, OpenCompute and fostering a firmware development community

Recently, I was at the OpenPOWER Summit in San Jose where people could see the Barreleye server (specs and design here, initial Rackspace blog post here). Barreleye is an OpenCompute form factor POWER8 server. It’s not only an OpenPOWER machine, which means all of the host firmware is free and open source software, but there’s also OpenBMC meaning that the source to the OS and userspace running on the BMC (service processor) is also open!

In addition, the firmware enablement came from Foxconn (see this skiboot commit), which means we’re being successful in enabling people who aren’t part of IBM to join the development community for OpenPOWER firmware and get the changes needed to support their machines accepted upstream.

Granted, the size of a firmware development community is always likely to be relatively small, but I really like how Foxconn has shown leadership to other ODMs on interacting with and becoming part of the OpenPOWER firmware community.

Continuing the journey

A couple of months ago (December 1st for those playing along at home) it marked five years to the day that I started at MySQL AB (now Sun, now Oracle). A good part of me is really surprised it was for that long and other parts surprised it wasn’t longer. Through MySQL and Sun, I met some pretty amazing people, worked with some really smart ones and formed really solid and awesome friendships. Of course, not everything was perfect (sometimes not even close), but we did have some fun.

Up until November 2008 (that’s 3 years and 11 months for those playing at home) I worked on MySQL Cluster. Still love the product and love how much better we’re making Drizzle so it’ll be the best SQL interface to NDB :)

The ideas behind Drizzle had been talked about for a while… and with my experience with internals of the MySQL server, I thought that some change and dramatic improvement was sorely needed.

Then, in 2008, Brian created a tree. I was soon sending in patches at nights, we announced to the whole world at OSCON and it captured a lot of attention.

Since November 2008 I’ve been working on Drizzle full time. It was absolutely awesome that I had the opportunity to spend all my days hacking on Drizzle – both directly with fantastic people and for fantastic people.

But… the Sun set… which was exciting and sad at the same time.

Never to fear! There were plenty of places wanting Drizzle hackers (and MySQL hackers). For me, it came down to this: “real artists ship”. While there were other places where I would no doubt be happy and work on something really cool, the only way I could end up working out where I should really be was: what is the best way to have Drizzle make a stable release that we’d see be suitable for deployment? So, Where Am I Now?


Where I’ll again be spending all my time hacking Drizzle.