Tilera, SeaMicro: The era of ultra high density computing

Two big announcements with in a week or so of one another from two server manufacturers. On one side we have the Quanta SQ2 on the other SeaMicro SM10000. Both have 512 CPUs. Quanta fills up 2U of rack space, and SeaMicro fills 10U.


The Register did an article recently following up on a press release from Tilera. The news this week is Tilera is now working on the next big thing, Quanta will be shipping a 2U rack mounted computer with 512 processing cores inside. Why is that significant? Well 512 is the magic number quoted in the announcement last week from upstart server maker SeaMicro. The SM10000 from SeaMicro boasts 512 Intel cores inside a 10U box. Which makes me wonder who or what is all this good for? Based solely on press releases and articles written to date about Tilera, their targeted customers aren’t quite as general say as SeaMicro. Even though each core in a Tilera cpu can run it’s own OS and share data, it is up to the device manufacturers licensing the Tilera chip to do the heavy lifting of developing the software and applications that make all that raw iron do useful work. The cpus on the SeaMicro hardware however are full Intel x86 capable Atom cpus tied together with a lot of management hardware and software provided by SeaMicro. Customers in this case are most likely going to load software applications they already have in operation on existing Intel hardware. Development time or re-coding or recompiling is unnecessary as SeaMicro’s value add is the management interface for all that raw iron. Quanta is packaging up the Tilera in a way that will make it more palatable to a potential customer who might also be considering buying SeaMicro’s project. It all depends on what apps you want to run, what performance you expect, and how dense you need all your cores to be when they are mounted in the rack. Numerically speaking, the race for ultimate density right now the Quanta SQ2 wins with 512 general purpose CPUs in a 2U rack mount. SeaMicro has 512 in a 10U rack mount. However, that in now way reflects the differences in the OSes and types of applications and performance you might see when using either piece of hardware.

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/08/20/tilera_tile64_chip/ (The Register August 20, 2007)

“Hot Chips The multi-core chip revolution advanced this week with the emergence of Tilera – a start-up using so-called mesh processor designs to go after the networking and multimedia markets.”

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2007/09/28/tilera_new_ceo/ (The Register September 28, 2007)

“Tahernia arrives at Tilera from FPGA shop Xilinx where he was general manager in charge of the Processing Solutoins (sic) Group.”

(Linux for Devices April 30 2008)

“Tilera introduced a Linux-based development kit for its scalable, 64-core Tile64 SoC (system-on-chip). The company also announced a dual 10GbE PCIExpress card based on the chip (pictured at left), revealed a networking customer win with Napatech, and demo’d the Tile64 running real-time 1080P HD video.”

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2008/09/23/tilera_cpu_upgrade/ (The Register September 23 2008)

“This week, Tilera is putting its second-generation chips into the field and is getting some traction among various IT suppliers, who want to put the Tile64 processors and their homegrown Linux environment to work.”

“Tilera was founded in Santa Clara, California, in October 2004. The company’s research and development is done in its Westborough, Massachusetts lab, which makes sense given that the Tile64 processor that is based on an MIT project called Raw. The Raw project was funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation and the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, the research arm of the U.S. Department of Defense, back in 1996, and it delivered a 16-core processor connected by a mesh of on-core switches in 2002.”

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/10/26/tilera_third_gen_mesh_chips/ (The Register October 26 2009)

“Upstart massively multicore chip designer Tilera has divulged the details on its upcoming third generation of Tile processors, which will sport from 16 to 100 cores on a single die.”

(Good Gear Guide October 26 2009)

“Look at the markets Tilera is aiming these chips at. These applications have lots of parallelism, require very high throughput, and need a low power footprint. The benefits of a system using a custom processor are large enough that paying someone to write software for the job is more than worth it.”

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2009/11/02/tilera_quanta_servers/ (The Register November 2 2009)

“While Doud was not at liberty to reveal the details, he did tell El Reg that Tilera had inked a deal with Quanta that will see the Taiwanese original design manufacturer make servers based on the future Tile-Gx series of chips, which will span from 16 to 100 RISC cores and which will begin to ship at the end of 2010.”

http://www.theregister.co.uk/2010/03/09/tilera_vc_funding/ (The Register March 9 2010)

“The current processors have made some design wins among networking, wireless infrastructure, and communications equipment providers, but the Tile-Gx series is going to give gear makers a slew of different options.”

Author: carpetbomberz

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