Today HPE The Machine saw some additional disclosures. For those not familiar with the project, The Machine is HPE’s vision for the future of computing. With the new infrastructure, HPE hopes to move more data into memory and then perform in-memory computation for faster big data analytics. Today HPE came out with two intriguing insights: a 160TB memory capacity and Cavium ThunderX2.
New HPE The Machine Technical Specifications
From HPE’s tech specs on the new prototype:
- 160 TB of shared memory spread across 40 physical nodes, interconnected using a high-performance fabric protocol.
- An optimized Linux-based operating system (OS) running on ThunderX2, Cavium’s flagship second generation dual socket capable ARMv8-A workload optimized System on a Chip.
- Photonics/Optical communication links, including the new X1 photonics module, are online and operational.
- Software programming tools designed to take advantage of abundant persistent memory.
Commentary on HPE’s New Disclosures
At STH, our Editor-in-Chief Patrick is a big believer in Cavium’s architecture. He calls it “the first usable ARM architecture for general purpose data center compute.” A major point he has is that Cavium was the first to market multi-socket ARM systems with usable memory bandwidth and capacity. You can see more of his published thoughts and performance on ThunderX (1) here. The Cavium ThunderX2 STH covered in the context of the Microsoft OCP platform.
The 160TB of memory capacity is clearly spread among multiple nodes. Using the optical communication links, HPE is able to stitch memory capacity into high figures. From the release: “HPE expects the architecture could easily scale to an exabyte-scale single-memory system and, beyond that, to a nearly-limitless pool of memory—4,096 yottabytes.” Being able to store active data in persistent memory is where the industry is heading. Intel Optane memory is another clear step in this direction. Persistent memory does create challenges for software designers over the current paradigm so HPE is developing tools to address those challenges.
We are still some time away from the commercial release and introduction of The Machine, but what HPE has going looks promising.