Trading wires for light: Lightfleet unveils blade-based optical interconnect system

For Microsoft Research, the first commercial alpha unit of the Lightfleet Direct Broadcast Optical Interconnect (DBOI) system has been deployed. The system uses broadcast light to reinvent the way computing nodes are connected in next generation data centers.

CAMAS, Wash. -- Lightfleet Corporation announced that it has sold and installed the first commercial alpha unit, for Microsoft Research, of the Lightfleet Direct Broadcast Optical Interconnect (DBOI) system, which uses broadcast light to reinvent the way computing nodes are connected in next generation data centers.

The company says its DBOI technology creates a switchless optical fabric that enables all nodes to communicate with all other nodes simultaneously, breaking performance barriers of today's typical interconnect architectures.

Engineered to meet the growing demands for green computing in an energy-efficient, high density form factor, Lightfleet says the technology's capabilities offer unique parallel computing opportunities that allow for building efficient, high-performance cloud infrastructures that deliver more scalability, power savings and cost savings for data centers.

Delivery of the blade-based system, which uses Lightfleet's optical interconnect technology and is ported to Windows, represents Lightfleet's first customer shipment and a milestone in the company's goal to solve distributed computing's architectural bottleneck.

Microsoft Research's eXtreme Computing Group is exploring the potential of Lightfleet's optical interconnect in cloud computing workloads. The group's mission is to develop radical new approaches to computing hardware, and reliable, secure exascale software systems.

Lightfleet's systems use broadcast light to break the inherent limitations of switched fabrics. The performance combines high throughput, low latency and the node-to-node data arrival skew typical of a shared memory system. This is achieved by utilizing the company's patented DBOI technology and a shadowed-memory programming model which uniquely combines the benefits of large scale shared memory computing with the benefits of a standard, high volume distributed architecture.

John Peers, Lightfleet CEO, said, "The installation of this system at Microsoft Research is a key step to realizing the full potential of our technology. Lightfleet's DBOI technology fundamentally changes the way communication among computing systems is achieved and we look forward to working with Microsoft to develop next-generation server and datacenter architectures that are highly scalable and offer new opportunities for massively parallel, distributed computing."

As data center complexity increases and energy costs grow, input/output optimization and server consolidation are inevitable. The Lightfleet DBOI is designed to serve evolving cloud computing and virtualization demands. The company says it has received interest from the federal government and from Wall Street retail brokerage and investment management firms, market data firms and exchanges that realize the benefits of the technology ranging from high performance to general purpose computing.

More information and a technical white paper are available at

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