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I'd like to notice that Google recently invested significant effort in using power8, including building their own servers based on it.

I hope these guys have enough motivation and resources to keep the platform alive. They use a huge lot of open-source software so I suppose the support will not be locked out in-house.

I think it is merely an effort to not give Intel the monopoly over Google's datacenters. Because otherwise, Google will not have any negotiating power regarding prices of the chips.

Wouldn't it be cheaper to buy some AMD chips ? Are they that behind ?

I think power density and performance per watt are more important for Google than chip price. Power8 has greater density than Xeons with comparable Mips/W or Mflops/W.

I'm not talking about chip price but the cost of migrating and maintaining systems for separate architectures.

This. I think a side-benefit is that it lets them evaluate alternatives to x86 on a larger scale, and that if anything, the effort will lead to more portable code.

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