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December 03, 2009


Evan Yares


Whether something is a commodity is mostly a matter of your perspective.

A single computer with a mult-core chip is closely coupled.

A server farm is loosely coupled.

Closely coupled architectures are ideal for desktop applications.

Loosely coupled architectures are ideal for cloud applications.

Is there crossover? Of course. But as application load is scaled, the differences start becoming critical.

Scott Sheppard

At a certain point all of those other computer aspects become commodities and are no longer differentiators. As a stretch of an analogy, when was the last time you bought a car based on its air conditioner? In 1967 that was an automotive selling feature. Now cars just come with air conditioners.

Evan Yares

"Brain Matthews, head of Autodesk Labs, discussing how future computers will differ only by the number of computing cores, something he can currently duplicate with server farms."

Wow. Did he totally ignore memory bandwith/channels, cache/memory coherency issues, and core/processor coupling?

Probably no big deal. For most purposes, what you can get from multiple cores is not that different from what you can get from a cluster.

But, to be picky, there's quite a bit of difference, architecturally, between a 48 core Intel SCC and an 8 core Intel Nehalem EX. It's not by any means only about the number of cores.

When companies such as Autodesk start actually delivering massively multi-threaded applications, the differences will start to become more important.

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