Intel Boils Cloud Down to a Single Chip

Listen to this: Did you know that modern cells phones have more processing power than a giant, old-style mainframe. And of course, that cell phone’s cost and electricity consumption is infinitely leaner.

I ask this because when you look at it this way, it so easy to see the value of cloud computing. And every time I read about another advance to make the cloud easier for businesses and enterprises to accept, trust and go for, I rejoice.

Here’s the news – Intel this week introduced a computer chip (48-core) that “could crunch the size of data centres down in a similar way,” according to a story in the Financial Times. (Somehow, I can’t believe the Financial Times is writing about the cloud!). Intel, according to the story, describes its invention as a “‘single-chip cloud computer’ that rethinks many of the approaches used in today’s designs for laptops, PCs and servers.”

The new chip will have 10 to 20 times the processing engines inside the current core line-up of processors, and it will consume as much power as two standard household light bulbs. Wow!

In the story, Justin Rattner, Intel ‘s chief technology officer, that computing is moving into a “many-core era.

“The notion we have is: Could you replace potentially a rackful of equipment today with one or a very small number of these high core-count processors?” he said.

Intel’s new processor is not a product; nor does it have a name. It will be a limited edition of 100 or more that will be made available in 2010. And it will be used by researchers who will develop new software applications and programming models.

Hear that – all you naysayers out there who worry about cloud providers offering enough bandwidth!