Industry leaders form OpenCAPI Consortium to work on datacenter performance

AMD, Dell EMC, Google, Hewlett Packard Enterprise, IBM, Mellanox Technologies, Micron, NVIDIA and Xilinx have come together to announce a new, open specification that can increase datacenter server performance by up to 10x. Servers and related products based on the new standard are expected in the second half of 2017.

The new standard, called OpenCAPI, and released by the newly formed OpenCAPI Consortium, provides an open, high-speed pathway for different types of technology – advanced memory, accelerators, networking and storage – to more tightly integrate their functions within servers, according to a statement issued by the consortium.

OpenCAPI provides a high bandwidth, low latency open interface design specification built to minimize the complexity of high-performance accelerator design, says the consortium.  Capable of 25Gbits per second data rate, OpenCAPI outperforms the current PCIe specification which offers a maximum data transfer rate of 16Gbits per second.

Several technology companies have plans to introduce and deploy OpenCAPI enabled products, including:

  • IBM plans to introduce POWER9-based servers that leverage the OpenCAPI specification in the second half of 2017.  Additionally, IBM will enable members of OpenPOWER Foundation to introduce OpenCAPI enabled products in the second half 2017.
  • Google and Rackspace’s new server under development, codenamed Zaius, will leverage POWER9 processor technology and plans to provide the OpenCAPI interface in its design.
  • Mellanox plans to enable the new specification capabilities in its future products.
    Xilinx plans to support OpenCAPI enabled FPGAs.

The OpenCAPI consortium plans to make the OpenCAPI specification fully available to the public at no charge before the end of the year.

OpenCAPI is a not-for-profit organization formed in October 2016 by OpenCAPI board members AMD, Google, IBM, Mellanox Technologies and Micron, to create an open bus interface based on a new bus standard called Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface (OpenCAPI), and grow the ecosystem that utilizes this interface.

[Image courtesy: Google]

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