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Intel Corp. plans to integrate a converged fabric controller inside its future server central processing units, which will provide massive bandwidth for chips that is needed to connect to high-speed networking, storage and other computing nodes without massive power requirements.

The converged fabric controller will be able to provide around 100GB/s bandwidth, which will be considerably faster than the speed offered by today's networking and input/output interfaces. According to Raj Hazra, vice president of the Intel architecture group, the fabric controller will be incorporated into future Xeon microprocessors that are due within the next several years. Additional details were not revealed, reports IDG News Service.

The high-bandwidth fabrics will be able to provide cost-, power- and latency-efficient interconnections for loosely coupled microprocessors, storage, networking and other resources. Depending on the server implementation and system topology, fabrics are flexible and can organize traffic patterns in an energy-efficient way, according to Mr. Hazra. For example, high-performance systems may use fabric with a mix of InfiniBand, Ethernet networking and proprietary interconnect technologies, whereas cloud servers and microservers may use fabrics based on industry-standard Ethernet and PCI Express technologies.

At present fabric controllers reside outside microprocessors and are generally speaking additional controllers that use additional power. Integration of such chips into microprocessors and co-processors will not only cut power, but will make servers less expensive to build and will even boost performance.

Intel has quietly been integrating fabric controller capabilities into the company and has made several important acquisitions so far, including networking company Fulcrum, InfiniBand assets from Qlogic as well as interconnect assets from Cray. Intel's arch-rival Advanced Micro Devices also acquired SeaMicro company, which is primarily known for microservers powered by Freedom fabric.

Tags: Intel, Xeon, Xeon Phi, HPC, Infiniband, Cray, Fulcrum, AMD, SeaMicro


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