SeaMicro’s is not the only vendor stirring up the microserver space this week. Chipmaker Tilera this week announced its low-power 64-bit processors that are essentially aimed at the same scale-out datacenter market SeaMicro is targeting with its new Xeon-based microserver and older Atom-based gear. Those applications include ones running PHP and Java, in memory and NoSQL database workloads, and data mining apps based on Hadoop.
The two processors Tilera announced this week are the TILE-Gx16 and the TILE-Gx3, which are 16-core and 36-core versions, respectively. (The company says 64-core and 100-core implementations are in the pipeline.) The new chips are available in various frequencies between 1.0 and 1.5 GHz and are equipped with two integrated DDR3 memory controllers, 8 lanes of PCIe 2.0 connectivity, and multiple GigE/10GigE ports. Specific power draw on the various TILE-Gx parts has not been specified, although the company says to expect between 20 and 48 watts for “typical applications.”
Like SeaMicro, Tilera uses on-chip integration to reduce the number of components needed on the motherboard, but the similarities stop there. Whereas SeaMicro uses Intel Atom or Xeon CPUs and its custom interconnect fabric to build a cluster in a box, Tilera has essentially built a cache-coherent cluster on a chip with an on-chip mesh network.
Also unlike SeaMicro, Tilera must count on server and appliance makers to incorporate their processors into standalone systems. Theoretically SeaMicro itself could build a server around Tilera silicon, and would almost certainly do so if there was enough demand.
As of today, Tilera says it has 20 customers in the pipeline for the new TILE-Gx products, with Harmonic and Mercury Computer Systems announced this week. The company promises more TILE-Gx-based boards and systems will be announced later in the year.