Many, Many, Little Pieces Means Big Performance

FusionIO ioDrive

Are you seeing the trend for increasing performance?


  • Intel CPU multicore (currently, 8 cores)
  • NVIDIA/AMD GPU multicore (currently, hundreds of cores)


  • Fusion-IO Drive multiple flash RAM modules (currently, hundreds of modules)


  • Tesla Motors vehicle power pack made up of multiple batteries (currently, hundreds of batteries)

Many little pieces working efficiently together with a controller is the formula.  Whether for computing, storage, networking, or high-performance batteries.  This is the future.  Monolithic designs cannot work indefinitely.  I suspect that this is similar to having a team of smart individuals overtaking one brilliant person.  Divide-and-conquer.  With teamwork many simple workers can create more efficiency than one complex worker.

The key to many cores working together is the controller and strong communication between them.  For example, Intel Nehalem CPU has built-in memory controllers to speed up communication between multicores on a CPU, in addition, to facilitate communication between multiple CPUs it has the QuickPath interconnect.

Competitors of Intel CPUs, NVIDIA/AMD GPUs, Fusion-IO SSDs and Tesla Motors’ batteries, take note.  You will have a difficult time beating them on performance without creating similar multicore designs. You may also have a tough time beating them on cost if they are able to mass produce these cores.  As many small, simple cores can be cheaper to manufacture than one, big, complex core.

Don’t be surprised when a future iPhone has multicore CPUs, multicore GPUs, multi-Flash RAM modules, and multiple batteries.  It is where the industry is heading and an efficient way to increase overall performance.