Tilera Offering Tweaked Hardware for the Cloud

Tilera, maker of a massively multicore chip, has signed a deal with hardware manufacturer Quanta to offer a server designed especially for the cloud, becoming one of several startups aiming at the market. The realization that worldwide demand for compute results in the sale of millions of servers, while also increasing the energy demands that our digital lifestyles place on the economy, has led to several startups such as SeaMicro and Smooth-Stone, as well as bigger industry players such as ARM (s armh) and Marvell (s mrvl) to think about re-architecting the server.

Tilera’s hardware deal with Quanta will result in a machine that offers 512 cores, 176 Gbps of I/O bandwidth and up to 64 DIMM slots, and as many as 24 2.5-inch hard drives fitting in two rack units. It will consume about 400 watts of electricity. The company’s road map anticipates moving from the current 64-core chips inside these machines to a 200-core chip in 2013.

Because Tilera’s offering a different type of CPU architectures as opposed to the x86 chips offered by Intel (s intc) and AMD (s AMD), running software on the machine may be more challenging. Tilera built in support for many of the popular languages used for building web services applications such as PHP, Python, Ruby, Java, Linux, Hadoop, MySQL, and others. The machine will work better for massively parallel processing jobs such as transcoding or certain types of financial calculations, but I’m less clear if it could work as the brains behind Facebook’s operations.

Thankfully, I’ll be able to ask Tilera’s CTO and co-founder Anant Agarwal tomorrow at my “What Comes After the Blade? Architectures for the Cloud” panel at our Structure conference tomorrow. Attendees will also be able to check out a Quanta server running the Tilera chips.

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