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Posted by Brian Hopkins on May 24, 2011
Has anybody noticed that processor speed has stopped doubling every 18 months? This occurred to me the other day, so I took some time to figure out why and draw some conclusions about Moore's law and the impacts of continued advances in chip technology. Here what I've come up with: 1) Moore's law is still valid, but the way processor power is measured has changed, 2) disk-based memory is going the way of the cassette tape, and 3) applications will move into the cloud.
We have pushed semiconductor technology to its physical limits, including our ability to cool chips and the speed of light. As a result, chip manufacturers have turned to multicore processing technology rather than pure chip and bus speed. Now the power of a microprocessor is judged by the number of cores it contains — and the number of cores on a single chip will continue to increase for the near future.
So what? Extra cores per chip means more parallel processing to speed through operations — so parallel is the future.
Two other trends are also important to understand my conclusions:
Considering these trends, here’s what going to happen (and is really happing now, but the signals are still weak):
Bottom line, it will eventually be more common for applications to live in a cloud environment than not, and in that cloud, in-memory databases will be the order of the day. How long will this take, and what should you do? I’m not sure yet, but I’m considering doing some more research into the area, depending on interest.
Please let me know what you think.
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