Hewlett Packard Enterprise announced what it is calling a big breakthrough — creating a prototype of a computer with a single bank of memory that can process enormous amounts of information. The computer, known as The Machine, is a custom-built device made for the era of big data.
Memory-Driven Computing, as HPE calls this type of computer, puts memory, not the processor, at the center of the computing architecture. By eliminating the inefficiencies of how memory, storage, and processors interact in traditional systems today, Memory-Driven Computing can reduce the time needed to process complex problems from days to hours, hours to minutes, and minutes to seconds to deliver real-time intelligence.
The prototype unveiled today contains 160 terabytes (TB) of memory.
The new prototype has 160 TB of shared memory spread across 40 physical nodes, interconnected using a high-performance fabric protocol. It has 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.
It also has photonics and optical communication links, including the new X1 photonics module. And HPE has built software programming tools designed to take advantage of abundant persistent memory.
During the design phase of the prototype, simulations predicted the speed of this architecture would improve current computing by multiple orders of magnitude. The company has run new software programming tools on existing products, illustrating improved execution speeds of up to 8,000 times on a variety of workloads. HPE expects to achieve similar results as it expands the capacity of the prototype with more nodes and memory.
Based on the current prototype, 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. For context, that is 250,000 times the entire digital universe today.
With that amount of memory, HPE said it will be possible to simultaneously work with every digital health record of every person on earth, every piece of data from Facebook, every trip of Google’s autonomous vehicles, and every data set from space exploration all at the same time — getting to answers and uncovering new opportunities at unprecedented speeds.