Bing are releasing a new data project centre titled ‘Catapault’ that they hope will speed up and improve the quality of searches to the extent they could topple Google’s dominance of the search market.
With plans for it to replace the current data centres behind Microsoft’s online services, Catapult will not only help power Bing but other elements of Microsoft as well. To give an idea of the power (and efficiency) of the centre it will use up 10% more electricity while increasing throughput by a whopping 95%.
It’s the hardware that will be the driving force of improvements; while this will definitely help to increase speed it will need back that up with increased quality of searches too. Bing are adamant that this will be the case. The plan has been to invest billions of dollars in to racks upon racks of servers called ‘field-programmable arrays’ or FGPAs. These are powerful processors which have been specifically built for Microsoft by technology manufacturer Altera.
A key difference between these new processors and other ones is that Microsoft will be able to adapt them as they go, without having to wait for updates from Altera. This will afford them valuable flexibility and the ability to respond directly to demands.