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July 09, 2010


Ray Lucchesi

Call me old school but I can't help but think there is still some place in storage architectures to differentiate with some form of silicon. AND remember with FPGAs and their ilk, generating new hardware is as simple as compiling some code with design checkers and other software oriented tools (although the cost is considerably higher than just running code).

The question, can FPGA hardware be as cost effective as doing everything with general purpose "server parts". I tend to think the answer to that is yes and the trends in FPGAs like hardware are similar to the trends in standard processor/interface off the shelf chips - Moore's law applies to all of these. So as each new generation of FPGAs come a long, you can do more with them.

There's no denying that FPGAs will always cost more than just running code on standard server parts but if you can get enough functionality enhancement from it I got to believe it's worth it.


Chuck Hollis

Hi Ray

I think you've only exposed half the debate. The other half is "will people pay a premium for what it does?".

There are plenty of examples where this is the case, and plenty of example where it's not. Indeed, folks like Apple can make many of us re-think the entire model.

My discussion, though, was specific to storage, and in many senses, it's following the broader server market. How much opportunity is their for FPGA-style differentiation with servers these days? Not a lot, I'd offer.

Thanks for the comment --



Good viewpoints. I also know that customers want interoperable storage devices. Standards are needed to avoid having an inventory of bricks in the future. This is counter to making a better widget (and more sales), however at some point, the distribution of data should simple, secure, and ubiquitous. It is great that EMC and other companies support standards organizations (like SNIA, OGF, etc).

Ray Lucchesi


Decided my response was to long to do here, so moved it to my blog. But my answer is that people will pay a premium if it's worth it.


The comments to this entry are closed.

Chuck Hollis

  • Chuck Hollis
    SVP, Oracle Converged Infrastructure Systems

    Chuck now works for Oracle, and is now deeply embroiled in IT infrastructure.

    Previously, he was with VMware for 2 years, and EMC for 18 years before that, most of them great.

    He enjoys speaking to customer and industry audiences about a variety of technology topics, and -- of course -- enjoys blogging.

    Chuck lives in Vero Beach, FL with his wife and four dogs when he's not traveling. In his spare time, Chuck is working on his second career as an aging rock musician.

    Warning: do not ever buy him a drink when there is a piano nearby.

    Note: these are my personal views, and aren't reviewed or approved by my employer.
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