"We've been investing in networking and interconnects ... to enable this kind of disaggregation," Graff said.
Advanced Micro Devices offers its own proprietary fabric that virtualizes I/O and storage, reducing the need for components in a server. The company has said it is looking to expand the use of that fabric, called Freedom Fabric, beyond servers.
Intel's Graff did not say whether the reference architecture had any relationship with the Facebook-backed Open Compute Project (OCP), which is trying to standardize rack and server architecture and components. OCP is working on the development of the Open Rack specification, which covers motherboards, power components and other hardware that goes inside a server. The Open Rack specification was inspired by Project Scorpio, and OCP hopes to release a standardized rack design sometime this year.
But Intel backs OCP, and has already introduced its silicon nanophotonics interconnect at an OCP event in January. Intel's Graff said the company is trying to push open standards, but did not comment on whether its rack-level architecture had any ties to the Open Rack specification.