Intel and Fujitsu have been showing off a new server which uses Intel silicon photonics technology with an Optical PCI Express (OPCIe) design.
The gear will allows the storage and networking to be split up and moved away from the CPU motherboard which will mean that components are easier to cool.
Fujitsu has now built something which includes all the cables and connectors optimised for photonics, with the first Intel Silicon Photonics link carrying PCI Express protocol.
According to a press release the Photonics allows components to communicate using fiber optic cabling rather than electrical wiring and the new Fujitsu server relies on a field-programmable gate array.
As far as the hardware is concerned Fujitsu took two bog standard Primergy RX200 servers and added an Intel Silicon Photonics module into each along with an Intel designed FPGA.
This made the PCI Express “optical friendly” and then they were able to send PCI Express protocol optically through an MXC connector to an expansion box with several solid state disks and Xeon Phi co-processors.
All this gave designers the chance to increase the storage capacity of the server, to increase the effective CPU capacity of the Xeon E5′s, and cooling density.
Photonic signally creates less electromagnetic radiation noise and the cables are a bit lighter.