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RIP HPE's The Machine product, 2014-2016: We hardly knew ye

Francis Vaughan

As described it was never going to be a product. That was just a mish mash of stuff with no clear use case and more importantly - no software to take advantage of it.

IMHO the big problem was that the processors had no sensible architectural support for making use of a world with huge addressable persistent memory. My personal crusade is for tagged memory. HP are one of the few companies that could conceivably create a commercially useful architecture with this. IBM being the obvious other. Tags for data type, if a pointer, access protection, and concurrency control, at a minimum would make life vastly more interesting. You can tie concurrently control and pointer identification into your memory network control. Suddenly lots of optimisations are available at a hardware level, and you eliminate a whole raft of crud from software.

None of this is exactly new. IBM's AS 400 was on the way, and it was a commercial success. And there were many other small volume and research systems built. But the ubiquity of x86, Windows, and Linux ensures that the barrier to entry of a properly new paradigm is very high.

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