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

Remote control for virtualized desktops

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.” ®

Secure remote control for conventional and virtual desktops

More from The Register

next story
NSA SOURCE CODE LEAK: Information slurp tools to appear online
Now you can run your own intelligence agency
Azure TITSUP caused by INFINITE LOOP
Fat fingered geo-block kept Aussies in the dark
NASA launches new climate model at SC14
75 days of supercomputing later ...
Yahoo! blames! MONSTER! email! OUTAGE! on! CUT! CABLE! bungle!
Weekend woe for BT as telco struggles to restore service
Cloud unicorns are extinct so DiData cloud mess was YOUR fault
Applications need to be built to handle TITSUP incidents
BOFH: WHERE did this 'fax-enabled' printer UPGRADE come from?
Don't worry about that cable, it's part of the config
Stop the IoT revolution! We need to figure out packet sizes first
Researchers test 802.15.4 and find we know nuh-think! about large scale sensor network ops
SanDisk vows: We'll have a 16TB SSD WHOPPER by 2016
Flash WORM has a serious use for archived photos and videos
Astro-boffins start opening universe simulation data
Got a supercomputer? Want to simulate a universe? Here you go
prev story

Whitepapers

Designing and building an open ITOA architecture
Learn about a new IT data taxonomy defined by the four data sources of IT visibility: wire, machine, agent, and synthetic data sets.
5 critical considerations for enterprise cloud backup
Key considerations when evaluating cloud backup solutions to ensure adequate protection security and availability of enterprise data.
Getting started with customer-focused identity management
Learn why identity is a fundamental requirement to digital growth, and how without it there is no way to identify and engage customers in a meaningful way.
Reg Reader Research: SaaS based Email and Office Productivity Tools
Read this Reg reader report which provides advice and guidance for SMBs towards the use of SaaS based email and Office productivity tools.
Business security measures using SSL
Examines the major types of threats to information security that businesses face today and the techniques for mitigating those threats.