Rack-scale Computing

Rack-scale Computing

Established: January 1, 2013

 

New hardware technology such as systems- and networks-on-chip (SOCs and NOCs), switchless network fabrics, silicon photonics, and RDMA, are redefining the landscape of data center computing, enabling interconnecting thousands of cores at high speed at the scale of today’s racks. We refer to this new class of hardware as rack-scale computers (RSCs) because the rack is increasingly replacing the individual server as the basic building block of modern data centers. Early examples of RSCs have already appeared on the market from manufactures such as AMD SeaMicro, HP, and Intel and similar solutions are being deployed at large-scale companies such as Facebook and Microsoft.

These new hardware trends challenge traditional assumptions and force us to rethink existing software architectures. The goal of the Rack-scale Computing project is to perform a cross-layer redesign of the way the hardware, OS, storage and network stacks, and applications are built and interact in that new context. The key insight is that by co-designing different layers of the stack, it is possible to achieve both better performance and higher efficiency.

These new hardware trends challenge traditional assumptions and force us to rethink existing software architectures. The goal of the Rack-scale Computing project is to perform a cross-layer redesign of the way the hardware, OS, storage and network stacks, and applications are built and interact in that new context. The key insight is that by co-designing different layers of the stack, it is possible to achieve both better performance and higher efficiency.

In our early CamCube work, we explored the opportunities provided by distributed switching fabrics and the benefits of tightly integrating applications and networks.  Our on-going efforts are focused on supporting efficient access to rack-scale resources. In the Pelican project we are designing a cost-effective storage appliance for cold data. The R2C2 project aims at designing a clean-slate network stack, purposely optimized for rack-scale computers. Finally, in the Flamingo project, we are working on solutions to automate the design of rack-scale computers.

Projects and Research

Past projects

rackscale_camcube

CamCube – Server-centric fabric for data centers

Current Research

rackscale_r2c2

R2C2 – Rack Routing and Congestion Control

rackscale_circuitswitch

XFabricPacket-switching over physical circuit-switching for in-rack networks

rackscale_pelican

Pelican – Rack-scale storage for cold data

rackscale_flamingo

Flamingo Automated design of rack-scale computers

Resources

News

External Collaborators

  • Pamela Delgado (EPFL)
  • Stavros Nikolaou (Cornell University)
  • Kaveh Razavi (VUA)
  • Xiaohan Zhao (UCSB)
  • Xiaozhou Li (Princeton)

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