Facebook engineers said in a new white paper that tests found that Tilera's many-core processors were more efficient than low-power, multi-core chips from Intel and AMD.
Tilera, which builds many-core processors to compete with x86-based chips
from Intel and Advanced Micro Devices, got a boost from Facebook when engineers
from the social media giant said Tilera's processors out-performed those of its
Facebook engineers released a white paper July 25 at the International Green
Computing Conference in Orlando, Fla., that said tests determined that a Quanta
Computer system running on Tilera's low-power 64-core TilePro64 processors
offered more than three times the performance-per-watt of systems running
Intel's quad-core Xeon chips and more than four times than servers running AMD's
eight-core Opteron chips.
report comes at a time when Intel and AMD,
the dominant server chip makers, are being challenged in the market for
low-power systems that are increasingly being used by Internet-based companies
like Facebook, Google, Amazon and Twitter, which have huge, densely populated
data centers designed to process large amounts of small, Web-based workloads.
In such environments, power and cooling are as important of factors as
the white paper, the Facebook engineers said key-value, or KV, stores play an
important role in such Web 2.0 environments. They also noted that applications
found in such data centers, such as Memcached, have hundreds of thousands of
independent simple transactions that need to be processed in parallel. Facebook
ran the tests using Memcached, and engineers found that the Tilera-based system
was more efficient than those running x86 chips.
many-core processors are well suited to KVstore workloads with large amounts of
data," the engineer wrote in their paper. "Despite their low clock speeds,
these architectures can perform on-par or better than comparably powered
low-core-count x86 server processors."
this case, Facebook found the 64-core Tilera chip had 67 percent higher
throughput than the low-power x86 chips at the same latency. At the same time,
the engineers wrote that "when taking power and node integration into account
as well, a TILEPro64-based S2Q server with eight processors handles at least three
times as many transactions per second per watt as the x86-based servers with
the same memory footprint."
the testing, Facebook used a 1U (1.75-inch) server running a quad-core Intel
Xeon L5520 chip running at 2.7GHz, a 1U server powered by AMD's
eight-core Opteron 6128 HE clocked at 2.0GHz, and a 2U (3.5-inch) Quanta S2Q
with eight Tilera TilePro64 processors-for a total of 512 cores-at 866MHz.
Tilera officials said Facebook also plans to run the same tests on Tilera's
new 64-bit Gx3000 series processor, which was announced in June. That chip
will begin sampling this month.
officials noted that Quanta builds Facebook's open compute platform. In April,
Facebook officials launched their Open
Compute Project, open sourcing the specifications it uses for its hardware
and data center to efficiently power its massive social network. That's in
contrast to others like Amazon, Google and Twitter, which keep the technology
used in their data centers a secret.
and AMD are both working to drive up the
performance and power efficiency of their processors though such avenues as
adding more cores and integrating high-level graphics onto the same piece of
silicon as the CPU. For the past two years, Intel also has been pushing the
idea of micro servers, designed for highly virtualized data centers and cloud
computing environments and using low-power Xeon and Atom chips.
the same time, other chip vendors and systems makers are looking to make
inroads into the low-power server space. Officials with ARM
Holdings, whose designs dominate the mobile computing space, including
smarpthones and tablets, are looking to move up the ladder and into the data
center. A number of companies that make ARM-based
Nvidia, Calxeda and Marvell Technologies, are pushing ahead with plans to
release server processors based on ARM
the same time, SeaMicro
is rolling out low-power servers based on Intel's Atom processors.
officials have said that they don't expect their company to overtake Intel as
the world's top chip maker. However, it can challenge Intel and AMD
in the 20 percent of the server market aimed at large cloud installations, they've