One of the new realities of IT is that advances in processor architectures are now coming fast and furious. As a result, IT organizations need to find a way to take advantage of those advances in a way that isolates them from all the potential disruption.
To provide that capability, Silver Lining Systems (SLS) has unveiled 60G Ethernet fabric interconnects that, when compared to 10G Ethernet fabrics, not only significantly reduce the total cost of high-bandwidth networking in data centers, but also make it simpler to swap in and out new processor architectures. Case in point: In addition to existing ARM, Intel, GPU and FPGA processors, the SLS fabric technologies now also support the newly released 64-bit AMD Opteron A1100 ARM-based system-on-a-chip (SOC).
The two form factors that SLS fabrics come in consist of a PCIe card or standalone ASIC that can be dropped into a custom server. Based on technology originally developed by Calxeda, Dr. Ping-Kang Hsiung, managing director of SLS, says the company decided to acquire the fabric interconnect assets of Calxeda to enable its parent company to more efficiently deliver cloud services. That parent company, AtGames Holdings, provides a number of cloud-based gaming services. A unit of AtGames SLS is now bringing those fabrics to market.
Rather than be constrained by the limitations of commercial server vendors, Hsiung says the SLS fabric interconnects give IT organizations the flexibility they need to migrate from one processor architecture to another on their own terms. Granted, IT organizations need to have some data center engineering expertise to accomplish that, but Hsiung notes that in the age of the cloud, it’s considerably easier for IT organizations to take on that task themselves.
Naturally, that might not sit well with every IT organization. But for those that now consider IT to be a differentiated business asset, the pace at which commercial server vendors tend to introduce new processor technologies just might not cut it anymore.