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HP's future machine nearly ready for developers

by on04 June 2015

Product five years away

A prototype of Hewlett-Packard's Machine computer is nearly ready for partners to develop software on by next year.

The final product is five years away but it should be pretty cool when it arrives.

The single-rack prototype has 2,500 CPU cores and an impressive 320TB of main memory which is more than 20 times the amount of any server on the market today.

The prototype still uses DRAM memory chips, because the advanced memristor technology that HP eventually plans to use is still under development. In fact this is the big sticking point for the tech.

HP wants a computer that stores all data in vast pools of non-volatile memory. It claims that a system the size of a fridge will be able to do the work of a whole data centre.

Another sticking point is that software has to be rewritten for the new architecture. But HP thinks it's the only way to deal with tomorrow's vast data sets in an energy efficient way.

Non-volatile memory keeps data when the power is switched off, so the Machine can be highly energy efficient. It has been seen in NAND Flash, but its performance is slow and memristors should offer far greater storage density.

Next year's prototype machine won't be very energy efficient, however. HP will have to keep all that DRAM powered up so that the data will be available to applications. But it will act as a "proxy" for non-volatile memory.

SAP has apparently signed up to test the beast.

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