Google, IBM, ARM & Others Detail OpenCAPI Server Specification For Data Centres

A Facebook data centre. Image credit: Facebook

Intel is on the outside of the OpenCAPI Consortium as it goes its own way in the server market

Major technology players including Google and IBM have joined forces to launch an open specification designed to provide up to a ten times hike in data centre performance.

The consortium looks to take on Intel’s strong position in the data centre server market with the Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (OpenCAPI) standard.

This complicated sounding standard is an open forum to provide a high bandwidth, low latency open interface design specification, aimed at speeding up the ingestion and processing of big data, running machine learning algorithms, and handling analytics and other modern IT workloads in cloud and corporate data centres.


purchase acquisition handshake agreement business © EDHAR ShutterstockThe OpenCAPI Consortium, formed of AMD, Google, IBM, Dell EMC, HPE, Micron, Mellanox Technologies, Nvidia, CCIX, Xilinx and the Gen-Z Consortium, noted OpenCAPI essentially provides the specification for creating an open and high-speed pathway for different types of server technologies.

Through the use of the standard, advanced memory, networking and storage, and accelerators can be more tightly integrated within servers. In a nutshell, it puts compute power closer to stored data to increase the speed and bandwidth in which it can be accessed and processed, at the same time, according to the Consortium, removing the inefficiencies and bottlenecks found in traditional system architectures.

As such, OpenCAPI is claimed to enable a data rate of 25Gbits per second compared to the current PCIe specification that offers a maximum data transfer rate of 16Gbits per second.

The new specification is touted for release at the end of the year, with its use forecasted in new products throughout 2017.


As one of the biggest providers of CPUs for servers, Intel was notable for its absence in the consortium, though it has previous from in shunning other such groups and partnerships.

It is likely the company will explore its own ways to improve server performance for emerging workloads and keep its specifications under wraps rather than release them into the open source world.

With the OpenPower Foundation also working on means to usher in servers that offer more bang for the buck than x86 server architecture, Intel remaining on the outside of such consortiums could see its position in the market come under fire in the near future.

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