Computerworld: Server technology in the year 2021: Part 1

Excerpt from Server technology in the year 2021: Part 1 by Sandra Van Dijk (Computerworld)

Published July 29, 2011

Optical System Buses: This refers to the use of optical signalling to replace electrical connections in system buses. Optical transducers will appear in memory, interconnects and processor modules, significantly reducing pin counts while boosting performance.

Gartner believes optical system buses have the potential to displace technologies such as HyperTransport and QuickPath Interconnect through single or dual-fibre interfaces.

Gartner predicts server density and performance scaling to continue through to at least 2022, supported in part by a transition to optical system buses. Gartner analyst, Carl Clauch, said racks using internal optical fabric could contain 1,000 or more servers, all interconnected with an optical backplane at high bus speeds.

“This technology will allow data centre processing capacity to continue on an exponential path,” he said.

Vendors investing in this technology include IBM, Intel, Kotura and Lightfleet. In fact, Lightfleet recently delivered a prototype to Microsoft Research — a 32-blade cluster using crisscrossing beams of light in 8-inch cubes as the cluster interconnect….

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