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The biggest revolution in the data centre could land in 2017

The biggest revolution in the data centre could land in 2017

Fujitsu’s senior director of server engineering, Georg Mueller, has confirmed to TechRadar Pro that its first server products that use silicon photonics will go on sale in 2017, adding that they may well be the first.

Back in November 2013, Fujitsu demonstrated the first Optical PCI Express (OPCIe) server based on Intel’s Silicon Photonics technology.

Switching from copper to light allows the data centre to be reinvented, said Mueller. For one, modular structure would become a reality with a more efficient use of infrastructure and the end of over provisioning.

A massive technological leap

By separating the compute entity and the IO for example, you could get your storage array, for example, located at up to 300m away from your actual server with minimal latency and scalable to up to 1.6Tbps.

The technology uses PCI Express Gen 3 which on an x16 slot can hit 126Gbps, just a fraction of the available bandwidth silicon photonics offers. PCI Express Gen 4, which is scheduled to be released next year, will double that transfer rate.

The model presented on the company’s booth at CeBIT 2015 is part of the Primergy RSA family and can house up to 32 drives as well as up to eight-dual slot GPGPU (think Intel Xeon Phi).

There are many other scenarios especially when combined with the SDx (software-defined everything) paradigm.

Bringing optical and silicon together is just one of the many game-changing technologies that will emerge over the next few years.

“We’re also working on non-volatile main memory”, Mueller revealed, but it will be different to the HP’s Memristor, before adding that the company is also working on computer architectures similar to its competitor’s “Machine”.

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