Tilera Doubles Down on Density

A wafer displaying Tilera chips. The company announced plans to double the number of chip cores on a processor every two years.

Chip maker Tilera has teamed with Taiwan’s Quanta Computer Inc. on a new server that will allow data center operators to pack up to 10,000 cores in a rack consuming less than eight kilowatts of power, the company said Tuesday. Tilera says the new S2Q server will be the most power efficient and highest compute density server available.

Tilera also announced plans to double the number of processor cores every two years. The company’s roadmap calls for 10,000 cores-per-rack today, 20,000 in 2011 and 40,000 by 2013. Tilera makes multi-core general purpose microprocessors using a new architecture that it says can that can harness the processing power of hundreds of cores on a single chip.

‘Breakthrough Density’
“Tilera’s technology integrates hundreds of general purpose cores on the same chip, with cache coherence, virtualization, and high speed I/O,” said Tilera President and CEO Omid Tahernia. “Our products are providing breakthrough density today and we will double that with every generation.”

Tilera’s announcement comes a week after SeaMicro unveiled a new low-power server that also promises to slash power costs for companies running large Internet services and cloud computing platforms. Both Tilera and SeaMicro pack 512 cores into a server, with SeaMicro using a 10U form factor while the Tilera/Quanta offering will place the same number of cores in a smaller 2U design.

Focusing on performance-per-watt processors, Tilera is targeting the parallel nature of cloud applications and new computing paradigms.  Backing the power performance are the innovations in adding many cores on the same processor, full cache coherency across those cores, virtualization support and distributing resources through its iMesh technology.

TilePro64 Processor
The S2Q server holds eight Tilera TilePro64 processors, which Tilera claims will replace eight high-end Intel Xeon 5000-class dual-socket servers. The TilePro64 processor features 64 cores running SMP Linux and the iMesh technology enables integration of the many cores with coherent caches to deliver scalable performance.

Quanta isn’t the only server vendor interested in Tilera’s technology. “We are working with Tilera to bring this compelling technology to our customers across HPC, cloud, and government market segments,” said Mark J. Barrenechea, the CEO of SGI. “Providing multiples of performance density and power efficiency in a standard environment is a significant breakthrough that will take cloud computing to the next level. SGI has been a pioneer in disruptive datacenter technologies.

The S2Q server will be available to customers in September 2010 in limited quantities and generally available in the fourth quarter of 2010.  It will be demonstrated on June 22-24 at Velocity 2010 and June 23-24 at Structure 2010 in San Francisco.

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About the Author

John Rath is a veteran IT professional and regular contributor at Data Center Knowledge. He has served many roles in the data center, including support, system administration, web development and facility management.

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