SRC Makes Move Into Commercial Server Space With Saturn 1
FPGAs are gaining traction in the server space as accelerators, with Intel using the reprogrammable chips from Altera for some of its custom chips for hyperscale and high-end applications. Intel reportedly is now looking to buy Altera. Juniper Networks in April announced it was using Altera FPGAs in some of its upcoming network switches, and Microsoft last year said it would use FPGAs as part of an effort to improve performance in its data centers. Dan Olds, CEO and principal analyst at Gabriel Consulting, said that "an FPGA is kind of like a blank canvas. It can do a lot of great things, but it needs to be aligned with the workloads" that organizations want to run. That can be "blindingly fast because they are single-purpose devices," Olds told eWEEK. He said that if SRC's claims pan out, the company's server architecture could have a big impact on the industry, particularly for such workloads as high-performance computing (HPC) applications and big data analytics in such markets as financial services. "This could be a very interesting product," Olds said.SRC said Jingit, a startup aimed at improving marketing incentive and customer loyalty programs, saw a 500-fold improvement in the performance of its workloads by using SRC's FPGA architecture. The company expects significant improvements in performance in everything from real-time transaction processing to signal processing to mobile device infrastructure. The Saturn 1 is available directly from SRC and through resellers, starting at $19,995.
Hooking up with HP's Moonshot program gives SRC credibility as it makes its way into the commercial server space, as does the fact that among the company's founders was Cray, who is a prominent figure in the HPC and supercomputer spaces. They key for the company now is being able to prove the lofty performance gains that officials are claiming, he said.