Archive For The “Hardware” Category

2017 Turing Award: Dave Patterson & John Hennessy

2017 Turing Award: Dave Patterson & John Hennessy

Earlier this year, Berkeley’s Dave Patterson and Stanford’s John Hennessy won the 2017 Turing Award, the premier award in Computing. From Pioneers of Computer Architecture Receive ACM A.M. Turing Award: NEW YORK, NY, March 21, 2018 – ACM, the Association for Computing Machinery, today named John L. Hennessy, former President of Stanford University, and David A. Patterson, retired Professor…

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Will ML training drive massive growth in networking?

Will ML training drive massive growth in networking?

This originally came up in an earlier blog comment but it’s an interesting question and one not necessarily one restricted to the changes driven by deep learning training and other often GPU-hosted workloads. This trend has been underway for a long time and is more obvious when looking at networking which was your example as…

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Tensor Processing Unit

Tensor Processing Unit

For years I’ve been saying that, as more and more workloads migrate to the cloud, the mass concentration of similar workloads make hardware acceleration a requirement rather than an interesting option. When twenty servers are working on a given task, it makes absolutely no sense to do specialized hardware acceleration. When one thousand servers are…

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CS Responder Trans-Oceanic Cable Layer

CS Responder Trans-Oceanic Cable Layer

Laying fiber optic cables with repeaters along the ocean floor raises super-interesting technical challenges. I recently visited the CS Responder, a trans-ocean cable-laying ship operated by TE Connectivity. TE Connectivity is $13.3B global technology company that specializes in communication cable, connectors, sensors, and electronic components. Their subsidiary TE SubCom manufactures, lays and maintains undersea cable. TE SubCom has a base…

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KVH Industries Tour

KVH Industries Tour

As part of my home blog, I often describe visit to plants, factories, and ships in the “Technology Series“. Over the years, we’ve covered mining truck manufacturers, sail boat racing, a trip on a ship-assist tug boat, a tour of Holland America’s Westerdam, a visit to an Antarctic ice breaker, a tour of a Panamax container…

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Everspan Optical Cold Storage

Everspan Optical Cold Storage

Optical Archive Inc. was a startup founded by Frank Frankovsky and Gio Coglitore.  I first met Frank many years ago when he was Director of the Dell Data Center Solutions team. DCS was part of the massive Dell Computer company but they still ran like a startup. And, with Jimmy Pike leading many of their…

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ARM Server Market

ARM Server Market

Microservers and the motivations for microservers have been around for years. I first blogged about them back in 2008 (Cooperative, Expendable, Microslice, Servers: Low-Cost, Low-Power Servers for Internet-Scale Services) and even Intel has entered the market with Atom but it’s the ARM instruction set architecture that has had the majority of server world attention. There…

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Flash Storage Failure Rates From A Large Population

Flash Storage Failure Rates From  A Large Population

I love real data. Real data is so much better than speculation and, what I’ve learned from years of staring at production systems, is the real data from the field is often surprisingly different from popular opinion. Disk failure rates are higher than manufacturer specifications, ECC memory faults happen all the time, and events that…

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50 Years of Moore’s Law: IEEE Spectrum Report

50 Years of Moore’s Law: IEEE Spectrum Report

IEEE Spectrum recently published a special report titled 50 Years of Moore’s Law. Spectrum, unlike many purely academic publications, covers a broad set of topics in a way accessible to someone working outside the domain but not so watered down as to become uninteresting. As I read through this set of articles on Moore’s law…

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Recovering Cryogenic Refrigeration Energy

Recovering Cryogenic Refrigeration Energy

Waste heat reclamation in datacenters has long been viewed as hard because the heat released is low grade. What this means is that rather than having a great concentration of heat, it is instead spread out and, in fact, only warm. The more concentrated the heat, the easier it is to use. In fact, that…

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August 21, 2014 Computer History Museum Presentation

August 21, 2014 Computer History Museum Presentation

Dileep Bhandarkar put together a great presentation for the Computer History Museum a couple of weeks back. I have no idea how he got through the full presentation in under an hour – it covers a lot of material – but it’s an interesting walk through history. Over the years, Dileep has worked for Texas…

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Data Center Cooling Done Differently

Data Center Cooling Done Differently

Over the last 10 years, there has been considerable innovation in data center cooling. Large operators are now able to operate at Power Usage Efficiency of 1.10 to 1.20. This means that less than 20% of the power delivered to the facility is lost to power distribution and cooling. These days, very nearly all of…

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Optical Archival Storage Technology

It’s an unusual time in our industry where many of the most interesting server, storage, and networking advancements aren’t advertised, don’t have a sales team, don’t have price lists, and actually are often never even mentioned in public. The largest cloud providers build their own hardware designs and, since the equipment is not for sale,…

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Solar at Scale: How Big is a Solar Array of 9MW Average Output?

Solar at Scale: How Big is a Solar Array of 9MW Average Output?

I frequently get asked “why not just put solar panels on data center roofs and run them on that.” The short answer is datacenter roofs are just way too small. In a previous article (I Love Solar But…) I did a quick back of envelope calculation and, assuming a conventional single floor build with current…

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Cumulus Networks: A Sneak Preview of One of My Favorite Startups

Cumulus Networks: A Sneak Preview of One of My Favorite Startups

Back in 2009, in Datacenter Networks are in my way, I argued that the networking world was stuck in the mainframe business model: everything vertically integrated. In most datacenter networking equipment, the core Application Specific Integrated Circuit (ASIC – the heart of a switch or router), the entire hardware platform for the ASIC including power…

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The Power Failure Seen Around the World

In the data center world, there are few events taken more seriously than power failure and considerable effort is spent to make them rare. When a datacenter experiences a power failure, it’s a really big deal for all involved. But, a big deal in the infrastructure world still really isn’t a big deal on the…

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