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HP unveils The Machine, a data centre ‘the size of a fridge’

160 petabytes in 250 nanoseconds? No problem, says HP Labs.

By Ben Sullivan

HP has unveiled a computing device called The Machine that is designed to deal with the influx on data from the Internet of Things.

It’s being developed by HP Labs, HP’s R&D department, and can reportedly replace a data centre’s worth of hardware with a device the size of a fridge.

The device uses batches of cores that are linked by photonics rather than copper wires, and memristors (memory resistors) provide fast memory like RAM but with the permanent storage capability of a flash drive.

The result is that The Machine can handle large amounts of data whilst using not a lot of power. HP said that a Machine server can handle 160 petabytes of data in just 250 nanoseconds.

HP admitted that initial sample Machines won’t be available until 2015, and it can be expected to ship in 2018, but this announcement highlights Hewlett Packard’s dedication to saving itself from ebbing profits with a bold step.

Announced on the second day of HP Discover in Las Vegas, HP said: "Wouldn’t it be great if you had seemingly unlimited compute power? You could inspect and classify every bit of data entering and leaving your enterprise. You could analyze a trillion customer relationship management records in the blink of an eye.

"You could expand the bandwidth and storage of all your data centers tenfold while slashing your energy consumption. Your doctor could compare your symptoms and genomics with every other patient around the world to improve your health outcomes, instantly, without language barriers or privacy breaches. This is why we are building The Machine."

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