IT revheads push need for bigger I/O pipes

IT platforms are only as good as the speed of the I/O feeding them and today’s data centre infrastructure continues to be built out using a wide range of input/output interconnect technologies. However, IT executives continue to seek a common, ubiquitous I/O interface for their mobile, desktop, servers, storage, and network technologies to help reduce complexity, not increase it. In addition to this desire, it is clear that the technical functions delivered by these new computing models are challenging the capabilities of the traditional PCI bus and platform designs. IDC believes that the introduction of PCI Express technology may very well meet these challenges.

Server, storage, network, desktop, and mobile technologies have developed from their own unique, and different technology paths. For example,

- Chip or processor speeds that can and will range from 1GHz to more than 10GHz
- Memory speeds that will double or quadruple beyond today’s rates
- Ethernet speeds exceeding 10 Gigabits with emerging I/O interconnects transferring I/O beyond 40 Gigabits
- Chips that will exceed one billion transistors
- New multimedia, 3D graphics, wireless, and broadband
- Enterprise storage and server serial interconnect transition

The impact of these changes could be enormous and beneficial to the whole IT industry if they can be fully realised. We are about to witness an explosion of performance enhancements throughout the data processing and communication infrastructure, which will clearly put pressure on the slowest connections. Think about processors running an order of magnitude faster than today’s chips, memory four times faster (and larger), interconnects between devices at 20 times faster. As we enter the era of data and compute convergence, there will be significant portions of the IT ecosystem in transition. It is clear that this desire (or initiative) can only be successful if there is an industry-wide, high-speed, general-purpose, serial I/O interconnect that provides a unifying standard, consolidating the number of I/O interconnects within a platform.

IDC believes that the need for such a new I/O interconnect is real and the opportunity is enormous. IDC also believes that it will be judged by its acceptance across the IT industry, its ubiquitous availability, its co-existence and enhancement of existing (and perhaps competing) I/O interconnects, and its ability to provide long-term investment. Although there are several choices for customers to select from, IDC believes that PCI Express has one of the strongest IT ecosystems surrounding its development. Therefore, its introduction, adoption rate, investment and implementation should meet the goals of most of the technology and channel partners. Finally, IDC expects PCI Express to be a leading contender to keep the future IT infrastructure fed with lots of I/O delivered quickly, and managed securely. w

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