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Friday, January 16, 2009

Multicore Chips Scare in IT

Posted by james on November 18, 2008

The multicore chips technology within most computer processors are composed of a combination of two or more separate cores or central processing units in a single integrated circuit (IC). If you are familiar with dual-core computers of Intel and quad-core processors of AMD, you would know that the former has two cores and the latter has four, as their names imply. This multicore technology is the hottest subject of computer enthusiasts today as it has significant promises on the furtherance of computer processing speed and more efficient multi-tasking capability. Looking at the other side of the coin, however, it has been found out that it could bring disaster to the IT department of an organization. Carl Claunch, an analyst of Gartner, shared some problems that might arise when companies would decide to embrace the multicore technology during Gartner’s Symposium ITxpo.

Multicore Chips Processor

First, Claunch emphasized that there are specific coding skills required for this new technology. Thus, companies may find it necessary to hire additional IT staff that would be comfortable enough to work with this new design. Furthermore, it would also be important that changes from the previous system to the current technology setting are properly monitored and interpreted. Second, there would be a need for new development tools. Because most of the pre-existent development tools were created to work with the previous technology, some of them may become obsolete and incompatible with the new one. Third, the new technology may have effect on software that cannot be predicted. To date, benchmarking processes are still being conducted by experts to determine if the new technology can function well when used with the software that companies use. This is with reference to the probability that application softwares utilized by company data centers may not work desirably with the architecture of multicore chips. Fourth, software licensing arrangements are also a consideration. Software licensing is generally based on computer models being used and employing a multicore system may require a company to spend a few more dollars. Lastly, the impact of the new technology on specific applications could greatly vary. The chip could either speed up business processes or it could disrupt or damage an entire system.
Despite of the risks associated to it, the multicore technology is purportedly supported and recommended by hardware manufacturers. So whether we should go for it or not, it wouldn’t largely matter. If a business entity needs to adapt to current global market trends, it would also have to adopt the kind of system that is being used by its prospective clients. Failure to do such would be as good as being locked up in a closet while doing business only with those who are also stuck with the old system. Indeed, the decision to embrace the multicore chips technology could be seen as the most important technical decision that many businesses would have to make sooner or later.