Jon Stokes from ArsTechnica has a good article on Intel’s recently announced Terascale 80-core processor.
When you have so much processing power available, how do you make best use of it? One way is to treat it as a virtual server room, and run virtual machines on each core. For example, a heavily trafficed website, which is traditionally spread across multiple web & database servers, could be hosted completely on a single piece of silicon, with corresponding cost and power savings (especially power).
Then there’s the problem of how to keep such a fast chip adequately supplied with data, to ensure it doesn’t spend too much idle time waiting for new packets to arrive. There are some hints that Intel may be about to announce on-chip optical support.
I doubt we’ll see this technology on the desktop any time soon (though you never know), but in an era where datacentres are routinely sucking up megawatts of power, it’s useful to have a potential glimpse of a future where the entire room may be reduced to a single server cabinet.
(Let’s ignore storage, for now…)