back to article So you wanna build whopping pools of PCIe flash? Say no more, whisper Intel, Facebook

Intel will reveal a bunch of tech today at the Open Compute Project (OCP) Summit in San Jose, California – from NVMe storage blueprints and new Xeon D system-on-chips to processors with builtin FPGAs. The OCP, launched by Facebook in 2011, encourages hardware manufacturers to produce generic gear to the project's open …

  1. Ken Hagan Gold badge

    That FPGA thing ...

    I have no figures, but my gut feeling is that there are quite a few applications where a relatively small amount of custom hardware would make a phenomenal difference, particularly if it was really close to the CPU. (The "next" video compression standard, where "next" is "the one after this chip was made" springs to mind, but cryptography and even funny kinds of string searching are probably fruitful areas to explore.)

    So in 5 years time are we all going to look back at 2016 and think "Gosh, they were still wasting 2/3 of the die area on a GPU that was old-school before they'd even finished the design. What fools they were!" ?

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Commoditization of everything

    This, plus the SoNIC announcement makes it clear that the software people see a world where hardware platforms are interchangeable commodities, with the software providing all the smarts.

    Nothing new in what I'm saying, but I wonder how a hardware company reacts to this brave new world. How do you compete with the software smarts of Microsoft, Google, Amazon & Facebook? You can't simply start writing software and defining specifications yourself, so you tailor your hardware to their spec, bake in APIs that they need, build FPGAs in.. and then what?

    Yes, Intel isn't going anywhere soon, but what about the smaller networking vendors? Over in the consumer space, what about people like Samsung, Sony etc? As software takes over formerly "dumb" machines, the quality of the code makes a huge difference in whether your product sells or not. You can't build up that kind of expertise overnight.

    There are days in which I think the next 20 years will see a massive consolidation of power in a very few corporations (the afore-mentioned four being right up there), while everyone else becomes a small supplier, trying to win favor from the goliaths.

    After these dystopian visions, though, I usually have lunch, and things seem A-OK again.

    1. Rob Isrob

      Re: Commoditization of everything

      "There are days in which I think the next 20 years will see a massive consolidation of power in a very few corporations (the afore-mentioned four being right up there), while everyone else becomes a small supplier, trying to win favor from the goliaths."

      Yep... we'll get to the Standard Oil / AT&T stage. Every now and then the gov stepped in and busted things up. With corporate lobbying, not so much. But all is not lost, every now and then a google comes along to change the landscape. Not everything has been invented , VC gamblers lay down their bets and some are winners and boy when they hit do they hit big.

  3. Mikel

    Xeon D is interesting.

    It might make a decent SteamBox. They probably want too much for it though.

  4. Ian Michael Gumby Silver badge
    Thumb Up

    Finally! Some good news!

    The announcement has two interesting pieces.

    First, the FPGA on the die. This allows one to add a customized solution that will give killer performance. Think about building a cluster of servers for a given task where having the FPGA programmed for a specific task. (Trading systems, encryption, etc ...)

    The bigger thing is the SoC Xenon D. Now you can build white box servers that could be put in to fanless cases. Now you can have a small cluster of desk side machines for R&D that doesn't require noise cancelling head phones, and generate a lot of heat. As long as they don't turn off your office's A/C after hours... you're ok.

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