Xilinx, Mellanox also join CCIX Consortium to give data centre CPUs an open sharing architecture to boost speed and efficiency
A High Council of seven data centre heavyweights has forged a new consortium to develop a platform that will let the processors from different vendors work together whilst sharing the same memory.
ARM, AMD, Huawei, Mellanox, Qualcomm, IBM and Xilinx announced the partnership on Monday, naming the new collaboration the CCIX Consortium. As it stands, just a landing page for the initiative is available.
Essentially, the consortium is one of the world’s first efforts to coordinate a single ‘interconnect’ technology that will allow CPUs running on different ‘instruction set architectures’ (ISAs) to work together in the hope of boosting efficiency in servers running in data centres.
As the reliance on acceleration technology has increased, driven by the need for optimised performance in data centres whilst keeping cost and power at a minimum, the consortium aims to bring a new acceleration framework that will bring high performance in an open framework.
“Representing a milestone in the industry, a single interconnect technology is being developed that will provide exactly that open framework,” said Qualcomm.
Thus, in the CCIX (which stands for Cache Coherent Interconnect for Accelerators) Consortium’s own words, the goal is to allow “multiple processor architectures and accelerators to seamlessly share data”.
“Accelerating applications in the data centre has become a requirement due to power and space constraints,” the consortium explained.
“Applications such as big data analytics, search, machine learning, NFV, wireless 4G/5G, in-memory database processing, video analytics, and network processing, benefit from acceleration engines that need to move data seamlessly among the various system components.”
IBM has itself already been working on such an acceleration technology in the form of POWER8 and its Cache-Coherent Accelerator Processor. NVIDIA also has its own technology, NVLink, which boost connectivity between GPUs and IBM POWER. NVIDIA is ominously missing from the list of seven for CCIX.
Still, the alliance of vendors who have chosen to work together is a wise move, especially ahead of the Intel acquisition of Altera that will increase its accelerator technology, as noted by Moore Insights and Strategy analyst Karl Freund.
As ARM explains, the consortium wants to dash any hoeps that a ‘one size fits all’ architecture approach to the data centre does simply not deliver.
“CCIX enables more optimised solutions by simplifying software development and deployment of applications that benefit from specialised processing and hardware off-load, delivering higher performance and value to data centre customers,” said Lakshmi Mandyam, director server systems and ecosystems, ARM.