Intel has signed an agreement with supercomputer maker Cray to acquire its Gemini interconnect technology and its successor, in a move expected to help Intel target large scale-out computer systems with its Xeon line of processors.
The agreement will see Intel acquire the intellectual property and assets behind Cray's interconnect technology and the engineering team responsible, who are expected to continue their development efforts, an Intel spokesperson told V3.
Cray's Gemini technology is used to interconnect compute nodes within the firm's XE6 supercomputer, and links up to the processors within each node via the HyperTransport technology originally developed by AMD for its Opteron processors.
However, the upcoming Aries interconnect, which was under development for Cray's next-generation supercomputer codenamed Cascade, switches to PCI Express as the technology to link up the processors within each node, making it a good fit for Intel's Xeon processors, which now integrate on-chip PCI Express 3.0 links since the launch of the Xeon E5-2600 family.
Intel's spokesperson said the firm is not discussing future plans at this point, but it seems likely that Intel will use the technology to enable vendor partners to build high performance computing (HPC) systems based around Xeon processors.
Rival chipmaker AMD recently acquired micro-server company SeaMicro and its interconnect fabric technology for the same purpose. SeaMicro's fabric is also based on PCI Express.
Intel said its acquisition of the Cray assets is expected to close before the end of the current quarter, subject to meeting the usual regulatory requirements.
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