Tilera Targets Cloud, Web Apps With 100-Core Processors

The new Tilera TILE-Gx 3000 processor family allows the running of most common cloud applications with a minimum of recompilation effort, but offer a 10-fold performance-per-Watt advantage over Intel's Sandy Bridge family, said Ihab Bishara, director of server solutions for the San Jose, Calif.-based processor developer.

The new processors are designed to run a class of applications for which more general-purpose processors such as those from Intel are not optimized, Bishara said.

"We're not looking to replace Intel," he said. "We're targeting only 20 percent of the marke t-- the fastest-growing part of the market -- focused on the cloud. Cloud customers run a limited number of apps in a server. So they need servers optimized for their apps."

Tilera is targeting large private cloud developers and Web-based computing, Bishara said. "Large private clouds are the most in pain because of the high power and cooling costs," he said. "They have large data centers with thousands of servers, and need to cut both capital expenses and operating expenses. We can directly impact their bottom line."

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The Tilera processors allow the building of servers which are optimized to run a limited number of applications across thousands of servers instead of thousand of applications running across a limited number of servers, Bishara said.

Applications for the Tilera processors can be developed using standard development tools which support Linux, Bishara said. Applications for other processors can be recompiled for the Tilera processors fairly quickly, with the primary change being code to take advantage of the large core count.

"Most changes involve adding parallel processing to take advantage of the larger number of cores," he said. "But this is much easier to do today than in the past. Intel already offers 24 cores per processor."

The three new TILE-Gx 3000 processors introduced by Tilera on Tuesday offer a considerable increase in performance over the company's previous models with the addition of 64-bit support for applications compared to the previous generations 32-bit support, Bishara said. The new models also include twice the on-board cache of the older models, he said.

"This puts us two years ahead of ARM," he said. "They won't have 64-bit support until 2013."

Tilera introduced the Gx3036, a 36-core processor with a 12-MB cache, one 8-port and one 4-port PCIE 2.0 controllers, and two 1-Gb Ethernet and two 10-GB Ethernet ports. The processor consumes only 20 Watts of power. It is expected to be available in the third quarter.

The second member of the new family, the Gx3064, is similar to the Gx3036, but features 64 cores, a 20-MB cache, and two 8-port PCIE 2.0 controllers. The Gx3100 features 11 cores and a 32-MB cache. Both the Gx3064 and the Gx3100 are slated to ship early next year.

The new processors are targeted at ODM server manufacturer who target cloud service providers such as Facebook, Microsoft, and Google, Bishara said. Taiwan-based ODM manufacturer Quanta is Tilera's current server partner for its current processor line, and Tilera will unveil its ODM server manufacturer partner for its new processors this Fall, he said.