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HPE launches single-memory computer for Big Data era



Hewlett Packard Enterprise has introduced the single-memory computer in The Machine research project (The Machine). The Machine R&D programme in the history of the company is aimed at delivering a paradigm called Memory-Driven Computing – an architecture custom-built for the Big Data era.


“The secrets to the next great scientific breakthrough, industry-changing innovation, or life-altering technology hide in plain sight behind the mountains of data we create every day,” said Meg Whitman, CEO, Hewlett Packard Enterprise. “To realize this promise, we can’t rely on the technologies of the past; we need a computer built for the Big Data era.”


The prototype unveiled contains 160 terabytes (TB) of memory, capable of simultaneously working with the data held in every book in the Library of Congress five times over – or approximately 160 million books.


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.


Memory-Driven Computing puts memory, not the processor, at the centre of the computing architecture. By eliminating the inefficiencies of how memory, storage and processors interact in traditional systems, Memory-Driven Computing reduces the time needed to process complex problems from days to hours, hours to minutes, minutes to seconds – to deliver real-time intelligence.


“We believe Memory-Driven Computing is the solution to move the technology industry forward in a way that can enable advancements across all aspects of society,” said Mark Potter, CTO at HPE and Director, Hewlett Packard Labs. “The architecture we have unveiled can be applied to every computing category – from intelligent edge devices to supercomputers.”


The prototype builds on the achievements of The Machine research programme, including:


· 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; and

· Software programming tools designed to take advantage of abundant persistent memory.