A limit on technology deployment is the power consumption required to display information. HP’s been doing some interesting work with its suppliers allowing for a thin client device and display that can all be run with PoE. New more efficient technologies are on the horizon, such as using quantum dots for displays rather than traditional LEDs.
“The process is also extremely inefficient: More than 90 percent of the light from the white LEDs (which are really blue LEDs coated in yellow phosphor) is wasted as it passes through the optical film stack.”
It will likely be a few years until the technology reaches the market, but when it does it should allow for longer battery life and displays in locations never before possible.
Image by DELFT UNIVERSITY OF TECHNOLOGY
One solution I saw at HP Discover that I don’t think I blogged about before was the new award winning thin client solution that HP released. Even though thin-client devices have been around for decades, this is by far the most power efficient and flexible all-in-one device. This was one device that I took many of the non-HP bloggers over and showed them, explaining why I thought it was exciting. After they looked at its innocuous exterior and we discussed the possibilities, they were interested too.
What thrilled me about the HP t410 All-in-One Smart Zero Client is that the thin-client and the display are contained in one unit making the device look like a desktop monitor, taking up very little room, even when a keyboard and mouse are added. Its power is provided by Power over Ethernet, so there is only one cable that plugs into it – the Ethernet cable. This includes powering the 18.5 inch monitor. This is an unprecedented level of efficiency. Most PoE devices are small and dedicated to performing one function, but not this one.
It supports Microsoft®, Citrix and VMware (including PCoIP) desktop virtualization implementations in a single “appliance” set-up. Support effort for the device is almost non-existent.
Thin-client solutions are ideal for implementation in schools, hospitals and other places where power consumption, security, flexibility and ease of maintenance are important. With a low cost, high-performance device like this I just saw the possibilities blossoming into whole other areas, but that might just be because of my manufacturing plant floor roots.
One of the areas where I’ve been getting quite a bit of interest when talking with CIOs is storage solutions. Right now the storage market seem to be fairly hot with quite a number of new players entering the market. These high performance systems are going to require new types of storage controllers, since the existing supporting interface hardware are designed for relatively low spinning disk performance.
With Memristor-based or similar static storage coming on the scene in the foreseeable future, we’ve only seen the tip of the iceberg of the disruption that will be taking place over the coming few years. The information technology impact on power consumption, floor space and volume storage of information that can be accessed at high-speed can’t be overestimated.
Their capabilities can also impact how applications and system interfaces are written, since conventional spinning disk implementations try everything they can to avoid moving the heads within the disk drive, since these are physical movements that perform at a glacial speed compared to the rest of the computing environment. In static memory devices, random I/O has minimal impact. They can access all their information at approximately the same speed, regardless of where it is. The whole concept of tiered storage is brought into question. Static memory devices also consume no power when they are not being accessed.
For businesses who are just starting to get a handle on 'big data' and the big storage that will be required, now is the time to start looking to the future and think about how the business value generation will shift with an order of magnitude more performance and storage capability – and I haven’t even mentioned the impact of storage in the cloud. Effort can be expended now to prepare.
IEEE Spectrum has a feature on 2012 being the year of the 3D integrated circuit – 3-D Chips Grow up. It describes two areas of fabrication innovation that will give dramatic boosts in areas really count: performance and power consumption. They are applying 3D techniques at both the individual transistor and the integrated circuit.
”In 2012, the chip will start to become the cube.”
In May of 2011, Intel unveiled its plans for the first big move away from the planar transistor.
On the integrated circuit side of the problem is to shift to “stacking chips and wiring them together with interconnects that run straight down the stack, like elevator shafts in a skyscraper”.
This will have a profound effect, allowing greater performance and lower power. Something we’ve all been used to receiving from our hardware for decades