Microsoft Research and Bing present Catapult, a project that delivers performance improvements in datacenters

In collaboration with academia and industrial colleagues, Microsoft Research and Bing are examining datacenter hardware alternatives, and are presenting their work – a project known as Catapult – in Minneapolis June 16 during the 41st International Symposium on Computer Architecture.

Operating a datacenter requires managing many conflicting requirements. The ability to deliver computation at a high level quickly is a given, but because of the demands such a facility must meet, a datacenter also needs flexibility. It also has to be efficient in its use of power, keeping costs as low as possible.

Addressing conflicting goals is a challenge, leading datacenter providers to seek constant performance and efficiency improvements and to evaluate the merits of general-purpose versus task-tuned alternatives.

Their paper, “A Reconfigurable Fabric for Accelerating Large-Scale Datacenter Services,” describes an effort to combine programmable hardware and software that uses field-programmable gate arrays to deliver performance improvements of as much as 95 percent.

Find out more about Catapult, and why it’s so significant, over on Inside Microsoft Research.

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Athima Chansanchai
Microsoft News Center Staff