Ok i'll byte
I never post on here (first time caller, long time listener) and i am not an engineer bit will risk an observation or two. I have only seen a couple of these articles about Symbolic IO so I dont know much yet. I think the launch of this company will drive a ton of skepticism based on the claims and tone of the announcement, but I am going to err on the side of optimism for the moment, until I know more....
It sounds like a key piece of the product is encoding to stuff more through a memory bus into the CPU and back to get full value out of the obscene performance advantage of modern CPUs relative to everything else in the server/storage stack. They seem to be saying that this is not just compression but is a different class of algorithm like huffman encoding or stuff along those lines that the HPC people have talked about. So to comes down to the quality and defensibility of the math that the Symbolic IO engineers have done to implement this encoding, as well as things like how efficient it is and error handling. I dont know that they need to have invented the equivalent of cold fusion for this to be of value. Rather, if they have implemented some known academic techniques in a production computer for the first time, and potentially figured out some of the practical gotchas, then this might be pretty cool.
Another part seems to be an outboard processor of some sort that handles or assists this encoding and plugs into a dimm slot. I am not sure I quite have a handle on what this does yet so I won't try to comment but it seems like an interesting and creative design choice.
Then you have the matter of the work they have had to do to go qualify and work with a bunch of new and not-yet-standardized non volatile memory types, and probably do a ton of bios work and other pain in the butt kind of stuff to make their contraption work. Sounds like the early days of storage networking when nothing worked together.
If the result is super fast, costs less and is reliable then they are on to something.better still if the outboard co-processor and other parts are deployable on some other server vendor's standard gear. The key is how good and unique that symbolic encoding math piece is. I am going to bet for the moment that there is something good there. I am also going to look past the awkward marketing; i am not sure the blinking lights, snazzy names for everything. and unproven claims based on un-named customers are helpful (but they did get my attention more than if they said they had memory bus encoding algorithms....)