IBM has developed a new silicon photonic technology which will significantly speed up data transfers. The technology can produce speeds of 100Gbps in tests using pulses of light over a distance of 2km. The silicon photonics technology has been in development for a decade and utilises 4 different colour channels over a single fibre and is aimed at data centres.
With greatly increased data transfer speeds between servers, large processor demanding tasks such as big data analytics and machine learning will be able to be performed much quicker and more efficiently.
Silicon photonics technologies amplified speed could also be the key to dividing up a servers’ core components: processor, memory and storage. In this fashion the processor can be handled a lot like storage is today by bringing extra flexibility ie. taking advantage of additional available processors when needed. The decoupling of each component could reduce costs by combining fans and power supplies for each.
IBM is not alone in the race for superfast super servers. Intel also has their own silicon photonic chip, but recently delayed shipment till 2016. IBM’s chip is supposedly more manufacturable with a simple integrated silicon structure – and will be cheaper to produce.
IBM has yet to confirm when their silicon photonics chips will reach the market so the race is on! However, the money is on IBM. More importantly when both are deployed in real world data centres, we can then review which is truly the fastest and most reliable technology. Either way Cloud will soon be becoming a lot smarter than it is today.