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January 17, 2013

Intel, Facebook to collaborate on rack technologies

Rack architecture includes Intel's new photonic technology

By Vinod

Intel will collaborate with Facebook on a disaggregated, rack-scale server technology which is claimed to help in independent upgrading of compute, network and storage subsystems in data centres.

Under the collaboration, a mechanical prototype has been built by Quanta Computer which features Intel’s photonic rack architecture.

The prototype also features distributed input/output using Intel Ethernet switch silicon, and supports the Intel Xeon processor and system-on-chip Intel Atom processor code named "Avoton."

Intel chief technology officer Justin Rattner said, "The disaggregated rack architecture includes Intel’s new photonic architecture, based on high-bandwidth, 100Gbps Intel Silicon Photonics Technology, that enables fewer cables, increased bandwidth, farther reach and extreme power efficiency compared to today’s copper based interconnects."

Intel’s silicon photonics technology uses light (photons) to move huge amounts of data at higher speed over a thin optical fibre using extremely low power compared to electrical signals over a copper cable.

The company also claims that it will offer cost advantage as the silicon photonics is made with inexpensive silicon instead of optical materials.

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