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A new data centre server that will be 10 times faster than anything we have today

A new data centre server that will be 10 times faster than anything we have today 

Such an increase in performance would enable cloud and corporate data centres to accelerate big data, machine learning, analytics and other workloads, according to the OpenCAPI Consortium, which includes AMD, Dell EMC, Google, HP Enterprise, IBM, Mellanox Technologies, Micron, Nvidia, and Xilinx.

The new standard, called OpenCAPI and released today by the newly formed OpenCAPI Consortium, provides an open, high-speed pathway for different types of technology – advanced memory, accelerators, networking and storage – to more tightly integrate their functions within servers.  This data-centric approach to server design, which puts the compute power closer to the data, removes inefficiencies in traditional system architectures to help eliminate system bottlenecks and can significantly improve server performance.

“In order to resolve problems customers face today and in the future we need an industry that collaborates on an open standards principle,” said John Roese, executive vice president and CTO, Dell EMC.  “Efforts like OpenCAPI and Gen-Z are essential to enabling our customers to innovate and thrive in an ever-changing industry.”

The new design provides a high bandwidth, low latency open interface design specification built to minimize the complexity of high-performance accelerator design.  Capable of 25Gbits per second data rate, OpenCAPI outperforms the current PCIe specification which offers a maximum data transfer rate of 16Gbits per second.

Several technology companies have plans to introduce and deploy OpenCAPI enabled products, including:

  • IBM plans to introduce POWER9-based servers that leverage the OpenCAPI specification in the second half of 2017. Additionally, IBM will enable members of OpenPOWER Foundation to introduce OpenCAPI enabled products in the second half 2017.
  • Google and Rackspace’s new server under development, codenamed Zaius and announced at the OpenPOWER Summit in San Jose, will leverage POWER9 processor technology and plans to provide the OpenCAPI interface in its design.
  • Mellanox plans to enable the new specification capabilities in its future products.
  • Xilinx plans to support OpenCAPI enabled FPGAs.

.“As a result of this initial success, IBM has decided to double down on our commitment to open standards and enablement of industry innovation by opening up access to our CAPI technology to the entire industry. With the support of our OpenCAPI co-founders, we have created a new OpenCAPI specification that tremendously improves performance over our prior specification and IBM will be among the first to implement it with our Power9 products expected in 2017,” said Brad McCredie, IBM fellow and vice president of Power Development.

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