OpenCAPI Consortium Shaping Future of Data Center Servers
Just a mere two days after the announcement of the formation of the Gen-Z Consortium, another announcement came which introduced a second consortium, the OpenCAPI Consortium. The OpenCAPI Consortium was made possible by the efforts of several tech giants coming together with one goal in mind: to raise the bar of data center servers by speeding up performance. The founding tech companies include: IBM, Google, AMD, Dell EMC, Nvidia, Hewlett Packard Enterprises, CCIX, Mellanox Technologies, Micron, and Xilinx. Intel is not included in this partnership.
The idea behind the consortium was sparked by one of IBM’s technologies. IBM developed a technology to boost server speed and performance. In fact, the name OpenCAPI (which means “Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface”) is named after IBM’s processor, the Power microprocessor. IBM, committed to improving the entire industry (and not just their own bottom line), joined the consortium to promote open sharing and allow other companies to benefit from the CAPI technology.
The OpenCAPI is a standard which provides:
- a higher bandwidth
- increased speed to accept data
- increased speed to process data
- improved memory and networking
- improved storage capabilities
- a more efficient forum to learn algorithms
- a more efficient forum to handle other IT tasks including handling analytics
- decreased data bottlenecks
In fact, the numbers demonstrate just how fast the servers can be. The current maximum data transfer tops out around 16 Gigabytes per second while the OpenCAPI data transfer clocks a rate of 25 Gigabytes per second.
As the news of the OpenCAPI Consortium is still fresh, IBM stated that it plans to launch the new servers, which are based on the Power processor, during the latter half of 2017. These servers will use the OpenCAPI standard.
The announcement of the OpenCAPI standard illustrates just how much this technology can affect the industry. Its potential is just beginning to show. For instance, a partnership between Google and Rackspace shows how this standard can further shape the future of technology; Google and Rackspace are using both the OpenCAPI standard and the Power9 technology to create Zaius, a type of new server tech.