Ron Wilson, Intel FPGA
10 Gbps Ethernet (10GbE) has established itself as the standard way to connect server cards to the top-of-rack (ToR) switch in data-center racks. So what’s it doing in the architectural plans for next-generation embedded systems? It is a tale of two separate but connected worlds.
Inside the Data Center
If we can say that a technology has a homeland, then the home turf of 10GbE would be inside the cabinets that fill data centers. There, the standard has provided a bridge across a perplexing architectural gap.
Data centers live or die by multiprocessing: their ability to partition a huge task across hundreds, or thousands, of server cards and storage devices. And multiprocessing in turn succeeds or fails on communications—the ability to move data so effectively that the whole huge assembly of CPUs, DRAM arrays, solid-state drives (SSDs), and disks acts as if they were one giant shared-memory, many-core system.
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