The Hardware That Siri Runs On Puts The New Mac Pro To Shame

Apple-Patents-the-Siri-Icon-2

Every single day, iPhone and iPad owners ask Siri millions of questions. Each and every one of those questions must be analyzed by Apple using computer-intensive natural language processing, translating it into a form that a computer can understand.

That takes a lot of computer horsepower. But how much?

Over on Reddit, a post suggests that there are 3 main ‘instances’ (or server farms) for Siri in the United States, and at least one for every other country.

This information allegedly comes — albeit second-hand — from Apple’s lead cloud architect, who says that every instance of Siri runs on 32 powerful HP servers with a total of 1024 cores and 32 terrabytes of RAM apiece. That certainly makes the new Mac Pro look long in the tooth.

Specifically, each instance of Siri is made up of 4 HP c7k enclosures made up of 8 HP server blades each, with memory upgrades to 1TB of RAM.

According to the post, if one server dies, it’s simply removed and another one slapped in, with no downtime.

By my calculations, that means that the hardware Siri runs on costs about $1,019,008 per instance, without taking other IT costs into account. That’s practically peanuts for the company that announced $13.1 billion in profit yesterday.

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  • robogobo

    What’s your point? Server farm vs a single desktop workstation? Shame.

  • inknzvl

    Tired of this click bite tiles and stolen articles of Cult Of Mac. They are most of the time a summary of the original article which they link at the bottom haha. And they have a new design for iPads Ohhh which also sucks if want to post a comment, they send you to old page haha. Really dumb.

  • Eric

    You mean Apple can’t create their own server farm using souped up Mac Pro servers? And have to use competitors equipments? Interesting. I guess there is a limit to Apple’s capabilities.

  • saiyan

    So Eric..

    Apple is in the business of selling consumer PCs, mobile devices and professional grade workstations.
    Apple is not in business of selling hardware for server farms or datacenters.

    Why would they want spend money and resource to produce server farms hardware for datacenters when it is cheaper and more efficient to buy or lease datacenter hardware from established vendors?

    Are you also implying Apple should start spend billions of $ building and maintaining their own semiconductor fabrication plants just so they can manufacture their own CPU, GPU and other chips to be used in Mac and iOS devices when it is cheaper to contract dedicated foundry such as TSMC or Samsung Semiconductor to manufacture chips?

  • lwdesign1

    Apple makes personal computers for home and business use that contain Intel processors. Apple does NOT make datafarm servers, but does use blade computers using Intel processors. It would be ridiculous to use linked Mac Pros in a datafarm. They would take up way too much space, and their architecture isn’t designed for datafarm use. The headline of this article could be easily compared to “Contractor’s backhoe puts workman’s shovel to shame” or “Atlantic Ocean puts backyard pool to shame”. You are trying to form a very weak comparison where none exists. The Mac Pro isn’t a datafarm server any more than an ant is an elephant.

  • WhiteSponge

    This is like comparing apples to oranges ~

About the author

John BrownleeJohn Brownlee is a Contributing Editor. He has also written for Wired, Playboy, Boing Boing, Popular Mechanics, VentureBeat, and Gizmodo. He lives in Boston with his wife and two parakeets. You can follow him here on Twitter.

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