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HPE develops memory-driven computer architecture

Thu 1 Dec 2016

Hewlett-Packard Enterprise (HPE) has unveiled a working prototype of memory-driven computing architecture. This represents a major milestone in HPE’s realization of The Machine: a new concept of computing design that puts memory at the center of the system, rather than processors.

Hewlett-Packard began research into memory-driven architecture as a new means of addressing problems with speed and efficiency posed by traditional, processor-driven computing.

In the prototype, which was brought online in October, HPE demonstrated compute nodes accessing a shared pool of Fabric-Attached Memory, and Photonic/Optical communication links, including the X1 photonics module. The company has also created new software programming tools that take advantage of the Fabric-Attached Memory, which provides programmers with abundant persistent memory.

Simulations created during prototype design have shown the speed of the memory-driven computing architecture can increase execution speeds by up to 8,000 times over processor-driven architecture. HPE expects these results to hold as it expands the nodes and memory of the prototype.

Antonio Neri, EVP and GM of HPE’s Enterprise Group said, “With this prototype, we have demonstrated the potential of Memory-Driven Computing and also opened the door to immediate innovation. Our customers and the industry as a whole can expect to benefit from these advancements as we continue our pursuit of game-changing technologies.”

While The Machine may not be available for commercial purchase in the near future, HP has stated their commitment to making related advances available to consumers commercially, either by introducing new stand-alone products or by using the advancements made in research for The Machine to improve existing products. First, the company plans to bring true, non-volatile memory (NVM) to the market in 2018/2019. This will evidently incorporate NVM work on The Machine as well as HP’s partnership with SanDisk to bring memristor and ReRam to the enterprise data center.

Also in 2018-2019, HPE plans to integrate photonics to existing product lines including the storage portfolio. The company stated that it intends to market fabric-attached memory as an independent product.

Finally, in 2017 HPE will release hardware security features using new secure memory interconnects from its research, and over the next three years will release software security features as well.

In a blog post, HP CEO Meg Whitman said of the advances demonstrated with the new memory-driven architecture prototype, “We believe this has the potential to change everything.”


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