I read about this a few days ago on the Green Data Center Blog, and tried to comment there, but apparently Dave Ohara either isn’t checking his moderation queue or doesn’t like skeptical comments about companies whose press releases he’s re-publishing. I’ll try to reconstruct the gist of that comment here.
Since working at SiCortex, I’ve kept a bit of an eye on other companies trying to produce high-density high-efficiency systems, like SeaMicro and Calxeda. Frankly, I find SeaMicro’s “throughput computing” spin very unconvincing. A little over a year ago I took a look at their architecture and reached the conclusion that all those processors were going to starve – not enough memory to let data rest, not enough network throughput to keep it moving. Now they have somewhat more memory and a lot more CPU cycles, but as far as I can tell the exact same network and storage capabilities, so the starvation problem is going to be even more severe. Even worse, the job posting Dave forwards for them (if he doesn’t get a fee for that he should) seems to indicate that they’s still pursuing an Ethernet-centric interconnect strategy. That will keep them well behind where SiCortex, Cray, IBM and others were years ago in terms of internal bandwidth for similar systems.
On the other hand, even if Calxeda’s more radical departure from “me too” computing seems more likely to yield something useful, it would be unfair to contrast their still-hoped-for systems to SeaMicro’s actually-shipping ones. Come on, Calxeda, ship something so we can actually make that comparison.