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TMCNet:  Intel and Facebook to Collaborate on Future Data Center Rack Technologies

[January 21, 2013]

Intel and Facebook to Collaborate on Future Data Center Rack Technologies

Jan 21, 2013 (Close-Up Media via COMTEX) -- Intel Corp. announced a collaboration with Facebook to define the next generation of rack technologies used to power data centers.

In a release, the Company noted that as part of the collaboration, they also unveiled a mechanical prototype built by Quanta Computer that includes Intel's photonic rack architecture.

"Intel and Facebook are collaborating on a new disaggregated, rack-scale server architecture that enables independent upgrading of compute, network and storage subsystems that will define the future of mega-datacenter designs for the next decade," said Justin Rattner, Intel's chief technology officer. "The disaggregated rack architecture includes Intel's new photonic architecture, based on high-bandwidth, 100Gbps Intel Silicon Photonics Technology, that enables fewer cables, increased bandwidth, farther reach and extreme power efficiency compared to today's copper based interconnects." Silicon photonics is a new approach to using light (photons) to move huge amounts of data at very high speeds with extremely low power over a thin optical fiber rather than using electrical signals over a copper cable. Intel has spent the past two years proving its silicon photonics technology was production-worthy, and has now produced engineering samples.

"We're excited about the flexibility that these technologies can bring to hardware and how silicon photonics will enable us to interconnect these resources with less concern about their physical placement," said Frank Frankovsky, chairman of the Open Compute Foundation and vice president of hardware design at supply chain at Facebook. "We're confident that developing these technologies in the open and contributing them back to the Open Compute Project will yield an unprecedented pace of innovation, ultimately enabling the entire industry to close the utilization gap that exists with today's systems designs." Intel will contribute a design for enabling a photonic receptacle to the Open Compute Project and will work with Facebook, Corning, and others over time to standardize the design. The mechanical prototype includes distributed input/output using Intel Ethernet switch silicon, and will support the Intel Xeon processor and the next generation, 22 nanometer system-on-chip Intel Atom processor, available this year.

Intel is a founding board member of the OCP, along with Facebook.

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