There’s been a lot of discussion about “disaggregated” servers, racks and datacenters since Facebook FB +1.59% and Intel INTC +1.1% promoted their vision for the phrase at the Open Compute Summitat the start of this year. Haven’t we spent the
Intel Disaggregated Server Rack Prototype
last few decades disaggregating datacenter architecture? And if so, what does disaggregation mean now, is it something different? I’ll try to be succint as possible, but if you want a very deep dive, you can find it here (forbes article)
Strictly speaking, to “disaggregate” means to divide an integrated whole thing (an “aggregate”) into its component parts.
The photonic servers are an interesting play. If INTC can desegregate the components of the servers, it will essentially create a subscription service for CPUs. IT mangers can update just the CPU portion of their servers (picture them on sliding racks just like HDDs) for a few thousand dollars without having to update the motherboards, et al. INTC gets dependable revenue (subscription) and IT Managers can always have the latest CPUs (for far less money than updating servers components in their current state). It's a win-win.