(Via The Register) Shahin Khan of AzulSystems writes, a major shift is coming whereby applications will be able to tap into systems with, say, 7,000 CPUs, 50 tera bytes of memory, and 20 peta bytes of storage. Excerpts with edits and my comments added:
For more than two decades we have assumed that memory, disk and the processor - all cannot scale up the same way. If all these three can scale up massively and work in a synchronous manner, that would be a game changing innovation, one that would spawn a new age for business applications and raise the bar on IT productivity and business efficiency.In 2005, Azul Systems will ship compute pools with as many as 1,200 CPUs per a single standard rack (1.2 kilo cores!). What would change about application design if you could do this? Well, think back to what applications were like when you had just 128K of memory in your PC and a 512KB hard drive. The difference between the capabilities and flexibility of applications in those days and now is the level of improvement that we are talking about.
If you had hundreds of CPUs in a miniaturized “big-iron” system that were available to your applications, you could adopt the same strategy for applications. No need to plan capacity for each individual application. Let all of your users share a huge compute pool and plan capacity across many applications. In the process, you also fundamentally change the economics of computing. This is a whole new way of looking at the CPU, and therefore, the function of “compute.” This approach is gaining mainstream acceptance. Azul has already set the bar much higher. Get ready for an era when you can order CPUs by the thousands. And get ready for the new language of that era: 2.5 kilo CPUs, kilo core?, or mega core processing? ,multi-core technology, poly-core technology?. It is exciting to note that virtual machines such as the JVM and CLR are enablers of this large-scale parallelism. We are seeing the synchronus advantages in processing power, storage power and application power - add that to the tremendous advances in the communication arena - both within the PC and the world at large - A fascinating change is on the anvil.