In today’s technology world everything is getting smaller and smaller. And, with the cloud, some things are simply disappearing! Many data centers struggle to make their capacity work without exceeding it but, as expansion occurs, infrastructure changes and more racks are needed, data centers often find themselves outgrowing their space. This leaves them in the frustrating position that they must then relocate which can be tricky and often leads to downtime. Racks-on-chips have become a hot topic of conversation because it can help slow down overgrowth in a data center. Racks-on-chips are essentially a condensed version of a server rack while maintaining processing power and capacity but packaged in a much smaller package – a chip.
The critical component of racks-on-chips that makes them possible is that the capacity of chips must be increased so that they can store as much as server racks can. Racks-on-chips can be achieved but data centers must be retrofitted to make them possible because racks-on-chips have to be networked together with optical circuit switching and electronic packet switching. New data center builds that are forward thinking will plan ahead and have these system in place so that racks-on-chips will be possible. By switching to racks-on-chips the amount of server racks used in a data center can be dramatically reduced and once of the biggest benefits of this aside from freeing up physical space in a data center is that is also significantly reduces the amount of energy needed for heating and cooling. This means that a data center using racks-on-chips will be far more energy efficient, which is not only more green but will save a significant amount of money. While racks-on-chips are a potential ideal solution for data centers space and energy issues, Motherboard explains that it is still in the early stages and much still needs to happen for the benefits to be truly realized, “But the meat and potatoes of Yeshaiahu Fainman and George Porter’s server-rack-on-a-chip vision is really about taking the existing framework for a server rack and recreating it at the nano-level. They say that miniaturizing all server components so that several servers can fit onto a computer chip would increase processing speed. Making circuit systems to support all these mini-components using advanced lithography is already feasible, but scientists have yet to realize nano-transceivers and circuit-switchers—the key components that transmit data. And while silicon chips are increasing being used to transmit data-carrying light waves in fiber optic networks, efficiently generating light on a silicon chip is still early in its development. The researchers offer some solutions, like including light generating nanolasers in the chip design.”