Massively parallel processing (MPP) systems — Commercial reality or scientific curiosity?
Parallel processing has long been seen as the answer to overcoming the VonNeumann bottleneck. This has stimulated production of ever faster electronic and optical parallel devices, however, there have been a number of practical limitations with these due to trade-offs between application requirements and extensibility of design. This paper summarises the technology surrounding commercial MPP machines, and examines Database applications as one of their most likely ‘first successes’. Future trends are then analysed with respect to the position of the market leader, Oracle, matched against opinion from the academic community as to the future of MPP architectures and operational criteria from companies who are implementing commercial MPP applications. We find, in the application area of databases, that this technology has matured to a point where it can be a strategic option even for companies which do not compete on the basis of ultimate computing performance.
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