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Cell architecture boosts performance of IBM blade server

IBM has developed a blade server based on its Cell Broadband Engine, a processor that will power Sony's Playstation 3, due out later this year.

IBM has developed a blade server based on its Cell Broadband Engine, a processor that will power Sony's Playstation 3, due out later this year.

The blade server, called BladeCenter H, can be linked to others using a new switch developed jointly by Cisco and IBM.

The Cisco InfiniBand Switch Module is a 4X InfiniBand switch that provides high-speed interconnect capability. The switch module, designed specifically for this blade server, is four times faster than previous generations, said IBM.

Based on IBM's Power Architecture, the Cell Broadband Engine processor used in the new blade server was developed by IBM in collaboration with Sony and Toshiba.

The Cell architecture, which has been in development since 2001, aims to mimic how cells in a body unite to form complete physical systems.

Cell technology will allow all kinds of electronic devices (from consumer products to supercomputers) to work together, signalling a new era in internet entertainment, communications and collaboration, said IBM.

The Cell architecture is designed to use ultra-high-speed broadband connectivity to enable computers to interoperate with one another as one complete system, similar to the way neural cells interoperate over the brain's network.

IBM said US defence contractor Raytheon has already said it will use Cell technology in its missile defence systems.

Along with applications for media, the technology can be deployed in areas such as radar and CAT scanners to process image data in real time, said Tikiri Wanduragala, senior consultant at IBM. It can also be deployed in data management applications, where users need to analyse data quickly.

 

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