Tech Group’s New Initiative Aims for Faster Server Speeds

Several big names have banded together to form a new group seeking to advance server technology. The consortium includes a number of major hardware manufacturers, such as IBM, Dell, and Hewlett Packard.

It’s time to speed things up.

Nine leading tech companies launched the OpenCAPI Consortium last week to promote a new standard for servers and data center hardware. This new specification would present server speeds up to 10 times faster than today’s standard.

“We are going to need to bring new computer architectures, new technologies to bear to service the needs of these new modern workloads,” Brad McCredie, an IBM vice president, said to the Wall Street Journal.

Joining IBM as founding members in consortium are Advanced Micro Devices, Dell EMC, Google, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, Mellanox Technologies, Micron, NVIDIA, and Xilinx.

CAPI stands for “coherent accelerator processor interface,” an approach that enables different types of technology to use the same memory chips or servers.

For example, graphic cards are currently required to use separate memory chips. This technology would eliminate that extra need and could be extended to different types of computer parts, including microprocessors, advanced memory, accelerators, networking, and storage. The approach would eliminate bottlenecks and thus speed up 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,” Dell EMC Executive Vice President and CTO John Roese said in a news release.

The consortium is exploring an open approach to developing the CAPI technology, believing a new standard could help further innovation.

The fruits of the approach would show up in the form of speedier data transfers. Today’s bandwidth specification allows for a maximum data transfer rate of 16 gigabits per second; CAPI would boost that to a new standard of 25 gigabits per second. Technology that supports the CAPI standard would hit the market in late 2017.

“This is big, really big,” Patrick Moorhead, president and principal analyst of Moor Insights and Strategy, wrote in Forbes. “Acceleration is what all the cool kids are doing.”

The partnership does have competition, however. Intel Corp. is moving forward with its own “coherent connection technology” offering, QuickPath Interconnect.


Patrick deHahn

By Patrick deHahn

Patrick deHahn is a contributor to Associations Now. MORE

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