February 28, 2019 -- With the massive amount of data being processed in data centers and at the edge, the need for a new interconnect has become crucial. Existing server architectures scale the amount of available dynamic RAM (DRAM) by the number of double data rate (DDR) slots in the server. Furthermore, since that DRAM is locked into a specific server, existing architectures are unable to share the server’s local memory. If a server needs maintenance, or is simply under-utilized, the memory directly connected to that server is essentially stranded and inaccessible by other CPUs in the rack and row scale.
Gen-Z technology breaks down that barrier, resulting in true data-centric scaling. This cutting-edge fabric allows for resource bays that can be dynamically provisioned between a multitude of CPUs to meet the demand flow of data center workloads. The end result is a path to fully composable systems that support a disaggregated memory architecture.
The Gen-Z Consortium encourages an open and collaborative ecosystem among its members, leading to a recent joint announcement from Consortium members SMART Modular Technologies and IntelliProp of the 96 GB Gen-Z Memory Module and new Gen-Z IP cores.
The Gen-Z Memory Module (ZMM) was developed by SMART to enable new solution architectures for delivering high levels of performance, software efficiency, and power optimizations. The ZMM operates at data rates up to 40 GB/s and with less than 400 ns load-to-use memory capacity of 96GB of DRAM. Designed to handle advanced workloads, the Gen-Z protocol enables data-centric computing with scalable memory pools and resources for real-time analytics and in-memory applications.
The SMART ZMM is the first Gen-Z Specification 1.0 compliant product developed, and the first high-capacity DRAM-only module built to support disaggregated memory.
Consortium member company IntelliProp has also made some exciting progress with Gen-Z Intellectual Property and Gen-Z ASSP products. The development of seven Gen-Z 1.0 Core Specification compliant IP cores provides the building blocks for future development of products supporting the Gen-Z interface.
Along with deployment in the SMART ZMM and Gen-Z Protocol Bridges, IntelliProp is using these IP cores in its own “Mamba” DRAM Memory Controller ASSP. Its Gen-Z Memory Controllers and Gen-Z Protocol Bridges can also be used to develop products required to support Gen-Z memory pools which allow the disaggregation of memory.
Gen-Z is the answer
The Gen-Z Consortium was developed to create an open and collaborative community focused on advancing Gen-Z technology in the marketplace. With member companies, like IntelliProp and SMART Modular, bringing their expertise together in support of the memory dense, high-bandwidth capacity, Gen-Z interface, they ensure that Gen-Z will continue achieving its mission: creating a next-generation interconnect that will bridge existing solutions while enabling new, unbounded innovation.
Gen-Z’s data-centric capabilities have the potential to provide new alternatives to the entire data center market, and exciting new solutions developed by Consortium members are the first step toward Gen-Z product availability in the marketplace. As the Consortium continues to grow, member company dedication and development will be the cornerstone of marketplace advancement for Gen-Z technology.
This year is shaping up to be very exciting for the Consortium. Stay tuned for future developments by member companies and Gen-Z supporters.