Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE) has demonstrated its memory-driven computing architecture The Machine, bringing its vision for the future of computing closer to fruition.
The idea behind the project, which has been running for five years, is to combine memory-driven computing, photonics, and a new fabric that can together deal with vast amounts of data.
The working components that HPE showcased included compute nodes that share a pool of fast and permanent memory; photonics-based data links; and the custom-built software required to make it all work.
While it’s still at a proof-of-concept stage, HPE sees the demonstration as a major milestone that will open “the door to immediate innovation”.
Simulations from the design phase suggest that a memory-driven computing system is “multiple orders of magnitude” faster than current computers — potentially up to 8,000 times faster. The prototype will require additional nodes and memory to achieve similar results, according to HPE.
While the technology can be used to improve the performance of small Internet of Things (IoT) devices, the company said it will focus on high-end computing tasks.
The future HPE envisions is one where computers are able to turn massive amounts of data into secure, actionable insights in a cost- and energy-efficient manner. For example, computers of the future may very well remember everything about our history, inform real-time contextual decisions, and enable us to predict, prevent, and respond to situations in ways previously inconceivable.
HPE intends to commercialise technologies developed within the non-volatile memory, fabric, ecosystem enablement, and security categories by 2018 to 2020.
In a meeting with analysts in October, HPE CEO Meg Whitman said the company will invest in composable infrastructure and software-defined tools — such as edge devices and IoT — on the hybrid cloud market.
At the meeting, Whitman portrayed HPE as a company that’s nimble and innovative as it competes with larger rivals such as Dell Technologies.
“Hewlett Packard Enterprise is in the strongest position it has been since I joined the company five years ago,” said Whitman. “It has been a journey to get here. We have a clear strategy.”
Last year, Hewlett-Packard split into two companies, HP and HPE.
The company then said it would “spin-merge” its non-core software assets with Micro Focus, a software company based in the United Kingdom, in a transaction worth around $8.8 billion.
Since the split and spin-off, HPE has laid off a number of developers.
“These changes are part of a company-wide strategy to give HPE the needed workforce to be a more nimble customer and partner-centric company,” an HPE representative said at the time.
In mid-October at HPE’s securities analyst meeting, general manager Chris Hsu hinted at a shift in resource allocation.
“We are implementing a new product segmentation strategy that will ensure we are putting the right resources behind the highest-value opportunities while continuing to invest in the mission-critical applications that our customers rely on,” Hsu said.