New multiprocessor servers may be on way

New multiprocessor servers may be on way

A pair of ex-IBMers think they have a better way of building low-cost multiprocessor servers.

Ted Scardamalia and Lynn West, both of whom worked in RS/6000 development, have formed a company dedicated to building Intel-based systems that scale linearly to as many as 64 processors.

The new company is dubbed Times N Systems - the name hinting that the company's systems will process applications to the nth power.

The entrepreneurs claim that their systems will address the shortcomings of current approaches, such as symmetrical multiprocessing and clustering. Multiprocessing systems today are hindered by memory contention, I/O bottlenecks and latency issues, Scardamalia and West claim.

Times N will use a "share whatever you can" approach to memory management by giving each processor its own memory, as well as access to a general pool of memory available via an attached hublike device.

In effect, the company is taking the best of symmetrical multiprocessing by letting processors share memory. It is also taking the best of clustering, but giving processors dedicated memory and I/O as well.

Plenty to prove

But don't get your hopes up too high about Times N because the firm still has plenty to prove.

The company was formed only one month ago, employs just five people and has yet to move into its Austin office.

Times N, which has received $US4 million in venture funding, doesn't plan to demonstrate a product for 12 months, and the company probably won't have a product shipping until the end of next year.

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