Cloud infrastructures require hardware. The buck can only be passed so far before someone has to own and maintain a server. Google Cloud has announced its plans for the Zaius P9, an Open Compute Project server based on IBM's POWER9 CPU. The server design is chock-full of next-generation buzzwords like PCIe 4.0, OpenCAPI, 48V-POL, and 48v OpenRack 2.0.
The Zaius P9 server design sports a pair of IBM POWER9 CPUs and DDR4 memory. Google says the design draws on its twelve years of experience with the Open Server Specification, and improves upon it with updates for heterogeneous architectures and increased power efficiency.
PCIe 4.0 is easy enough for readers of The Tech Report to identify as the successor to the PCIe 3.0 technology present in modern desktop computers. OpenCAPI (Open Coherent Accelerator Processor Interface) is an extension of IBM's CAPI technology which allows for fast, coherent interconnect between CPUs and heterogenous compute resources such as ASICS, GPUs, and FPGAs. AMD, IBM, Google, Xilinx, and Micron are some of the members of the OpenCAPI Consortium. Notably absent is Nvidia, which is invested in its proprietary NVLink interconnect. 48V-POL and 48v OpenRack 2.0 refer to the replacement of the standard 12V power design in servers with a 48V replacement in order to reduce conversion losses and improve power efficiency.
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