Feeds

We can't go on like this for much longer, boffins cry to data centre designers

Whole racks on chips needed or scalability will SLAM into the laws of physics

  • alert
  • submit to reddit

Next gen security for virtualised datacentres

The basic equations are easy: as data centres grow they need more computing power, better networking, more electricity and more cooling – a combination which University of California San Diego researchers predict will need whole racks to be shrunk to chip size.

Already, there are outstanding examples of what happens when a data centre starts to challenge its own physical constraints. Witness Facebook's ability to create a micro-climate – complete with rain – inside a data centre, or the way the NSA's mega-data-centre in Utah is suffering from chronic and serious overheating.

Hence, Yeshaiahu Fainman and George Porter have written in Science, the architecture of data centres needs a fundamental re-architecture. Rather than building discrete systems that are then assembled into a data centre, unit-by-unit and rack by rack, they argue that a new generation of systems is needed, designed from the chip up.

Their paper (abstract), Directing Data Centre Traffic, argues that servers and the equivalent of a top-of-rack switch need to be integrated on-chip if future scalability and energy demands are to be met.

To achieve the necessary networking, the boffins argue that on-chip optical networking is a must: “These integrated racks-on-chip will be networked, internally and externally, with both optical circuit switching (to support large flows of data) and electronic packet switching (to support high-priority data flows),” they write.

“Integrating rack-level networking requires more aggressive technology advancements” than are available at the moment, the article states. In particular, Fainman and Porter call for expanded research into nanophotonics to greatly increase the scale of optical comms that can be integrated on-chip.

They also say the optical communications needs to be reconfigurable, in what sounds to The Register a lot like chip-level SDN as it will mean that “by quickly reconfiguring optical paths, changes in traffic workloads can be supported … we need even faster optical reconfiguration and cost-effective integration to support the highly variable traffic flows between individual processors on the chip and among the chips.” ®

Gartner critical capabilities for enterprise endpoint backup

More from The Register

next story
The Return of BSOD: Does ANYONE trust Microsoft patches?
Sysadmins, you're either fighting fires or seen as incompetents now
Microsoft: Azure isn't ready for biz-critical apps … yet
Microsoft will move its own IT to the cloud to avoid $200m server bill
Shoot-em-up: Sony Online Entertainment hit by 'large scale DDoS attack'
Games disrupted as firm struggles to control network
Cutting cancer rates: Data, models and a happy ending?
How surgery might be making cancer prognoses worse
Silicon Valley jolted by magnitude 6.1 quake – its biggest in 25 years
Did the earth move for you at VMworld – oh, OK. It just did. A lot
Forrester says it's time to give up on physical storage arrays
The physical/virtual storage tipping point may just have arrived
prev story

Whitepapers

Implementing global e-invoicing with guaranteed legal certainty
Explaining the role local tax compliance plays in successful supply chain management and e-business and how leading global brands are addressing this.
5 things you didn’t know about cloud backup
IT departments are embracing cloud backup, but there’s a lot you need to know before choosing a service provider. Learn all the critical things you need to know.
Why and how to choose the right cloud vendor
The benefits of cloud-based storage in your processes. Eliminate onsite, disk-based backup and archiving in favor of cloud-based data protection.
Top 8 considerations to enable and simplify mobility
In this whitepaper learn how to successfully add mobile capabilities simply and cost effectively.
High Performance for All
While HPC is not new, it has traditionally been seen as a specialist area – is it now geared up to meet more mainstream requirements?