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Intel rethinks the server rack

Intel has just unveiled their redesign of the server rack, regrouping the components in order to increase their operational efficiency

Intel has just revealed their idea for a complete redesign of the server rack. Diane Bryant, senior vice president and head of the Datacenter and Connected Systems Group at Intel, described the new design at the Intel Developer Forum in Beijing: It involves separating the components of a server and storing them with similar components.

Current day servers racks are essentially large cabinets filled with several individual servers; specialized computers dedicated to handling networking tasks. If one rack isn’t enough, several racks are placed side by side in a room; the server room. Intel’s new idea is that instead of simply stacking a number of interconnected servers together as complete units, the internal components (such as memory and processors) should be grouped together instead. The benefits are many; in the case of the CPU, the server rack would effectively be able to cool all the CPUs together, and their computing power could easily be combined to handle operating speeds of 100 gigabits per second or more.


This could be done a lot more efficiently, according to Intel


Furthermore, with several individual components working in tandem, it would be very easy to swap one component out, upgrading it, without interfering with the server’s operation. Hot-swapping components is already something server racks can do, with backup systems taking over for the component being replaced while the administrators of the server are working on it. However, with the new Intel design, the process would be more expansive, and much simpler.


Bryant explained that Intel wants to release a reference design for this type of rack, hoping that the big server manufacturers would be able to build on the concept. A few servers in China are already working on some aspects of this system: Intel has partnered with Alibaba, Baidu and Chinese Internet Company Tencent, as well as China Telecom on something called Project Scorpio. Scorpio is an effort to centralize all the cooling and fans on a server rack and demonstrate savings in operating costs.

David F.
A grad student in experimental physics, David is fascinated by science, space and technology. When not buried in lecture books, he enjoys movies, gaming and mountainbiking

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