IT-Director: System I/O fabric to transform computing architecture model

“Peace has been declared, it was announced yesterday, between
the vendors involved in defining a replacement for the PCI

“The keyword is ‘fabric’. System I/O is a fabric-based
architecture, which enables any device to communicate to any other
device. Hardware switching is used to enable far higher throughput
speeds than previously available, from 2.5Gb to 6Gb per second –
this compares with a measly 132Mb per second from PCI.
…suggesting that PC devices such as processors, network cards and
memory will no longer be limited by bus bandwidth (particularly as
the 6Gb top end will probably be extended in the future)…”

“…system vendors are not the only organisations experimenting
with switched fabrics. One notable group is the storage community,
for whom the switched fibre architecture is key to the SAN
strategies of most companies… What interests the storage vendors
is the ability to link switches (by fibre) over long distances:
currently, the maximum distances between switches are touted as
between 10Km and 50Km. …a single, conceptual device, running a
single operating system could in fact be a pair of mirrored
devices, each with its own processor, disk and memory. The
processor, disk, memory and graphics card become devices in their
own right which, with the inclusion of a switched fabric with a
fibre interconnect, could be physically positioned anywhere in a
50km radius but which could be configured dynamically to make best
use of the resources at a given time.”

“…the inclusion of IP version 6 in the System I/O
specification… effectively removes the need to consider system
components as part of the same machine, virtual or otherwise. The
Internet is currently IP V4, but IP V6 will be included in most
network-ready devices in the future. The potential is clear –
that the system bus replacement, System I/O, becomes an integral
part of the Internet infrastructure.
How this will happen is
still a matter for speculation, but the potential this has, of
moving us into a device-based world in which bandwidth is a
forgotten issue
, is clear.”