Performance Computing: Channel Surfing

“Emerging I/O standards will affect transport protocols and

“In August 1999, a rare event for the computer industry occurred
when the two major I/O bus gangs agreed to cease hostilities and
work together on the next major system I/O connection

“At stake is one of the most influential and pervasive
technologies, one many believe will play a pivotal role in the
speed of future UNIX and PC systems.”

“It is believed that serial I/O will include an open,
royalty-free, public protocol specification that allows all CPU,
system, I/O controller, and switching vendors to participate on
more or less equal footing.”

“The chances are good that protocol development for System I/O
will continue to go on for many years as vendors find better ways
to use the bandwidth of the channel more effectively across
multiple applications in distributed data and computing

“These will be interesting times for the industry, the new
standard serial I/O channel will change the face of computing as
much as any other technology change in the last decade.”

“Companies developing I/O adapters are likely to see the largest
degree of change. If you make your living selling controllers that
fit into PCI bus slots, the change to a zero-slot serial I/O
channel is not very welcome.

“But at the end of the day, SIO means that all I/O activities
will be integrated into a network environment. Sun’s marketing
slogan from several years ago, “the network is the computer”
becomes more applicable. By replacing the traditional parallel bus
with a serial network I/O channel, there is not much left inside
the system anymore that is not integrated with networking
technology. This is a powerful change, rich in possibilities, that
will continue to spur innovation.”