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Gen-Z Consortium to Promote New High-Performance Interconnect

genzToday a group of leading technology companies today announced the Gen-Z Consortium, an industry alliance working to create and commercialize a new scalable computing interconnect and protocol. This flexible, high-performance memory semantic fabric provides a peer-to-peer interconnect that easily accesses large volumes of data while lowering costs and avoiding today’s bottlenecks. The alliance members include AMD, ARM, Cavium Inc., Cray, Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Huawei, IBM, IDT, Lenovo, Mellanox Technologies, Micron, Microsemi, Red Hat, Samsung, Seagate, SK hynix, Western Digital Corporation, and Xilinx.

AMD is committed to open ecosystems for technology development and is excited to join the rest of the Gen-Z members today in announcing this significant step,” said Mark Papermaster, CTO and SVP of Technology and Engineering at AMD. “The need for high- bandwidth, low-latency access to memory and storage as well as rack-scale composability in the datacenter is growing rapidly. Gen-Z is an advanced, modern protocol designed to deliver a high-performance, cross-platform solution that can serve its members and their customers far into the future.”

Modern computer systems have been built around the assumption that storage is slow, persistent and reliable, while data in memory is fast but volatile. As new storage class memory technologies emerge that drive the convergence of storage and memory attributes, the programmatic and architectural assumptions that have worked in the past are no longer optimal. The challenges associated with explosive data growth, real-time application demands, the emergence of low latency storage class memory, and demand for rack scale resource pools require a new approach to data access.
Gen-Z provides the following benefits:

  • High Bandwidth, Low Latency: Simplified interface based on memory
    semantics, scalable from tens to several hundred GB/s of bandwidth, with sub-100 ns load-to-use memory latency.
  • Advanced Workloads and Technologies: Enables data centric computing with scalable memory pools and resources for real-time analytics and in-memory applications. Accelerates new memory and storage innovation.
  • Compatible and Economical: Highly software compatible with no required changes to the operating system. Scales from simple, low cost connectivity to highly capable, rack scale interconnect.

The Gen-Z Consortium, established by current board members AMD, ARM, Cray, Dell EMC, Hewlett Packard Enterprise (HPE), Huawei, IDT, Micron, Samsung, SK hynix, and Xilinx, is an open, non-proprietary, transparent industry standards body. The consortium reflects a broader industry trend that recognizes the importance of open standards and their role in providing a level playing field to promote adoption, innovation and choice.

The Gen-Z Consortium is accepting new members. The core specification, covering the architecture and protocol, will be finalized in late 2016.

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