Dell and Lenovo unveiled new systems powered by Intel's upcoming Nehalem EP chip designed for two-socket systems. Intel is expected to officially launch the new chip at an event in San Francisco March 30. The Nehalem architecture focuses on improving performance and efficiency through such features as an integrated memory controller similar to that found on AMD's Opteron chip and greater support of virtualization technologies. Analysts expect healthy adoption of systems using the Intel chip, which is aimed at the high-volume segment of the server space, despite the global recession.
Dell's recent unveiling of new servers and workstations based on
Intel's upcoming "Nehalem" processor design is the latest move by a
vendor leading up to the chip's official launch next week.
Intel is expected to formally announce the Nehalem EP chips at an
event in San Francisco March 30, where it will be joined by a host of
systems vendors-including IBM and Hewlett-Packard-looking to take
advantage of new performance and efficiency capabilities in Nehalem.
Dell officials March 25 announced that their next-generation
PowerEdge servers and workstations, as well as their M-series blade
architecture, will be powered by the new quad-core Xeon chips. That
move came a day after Lenovo unveiled a pair of workstations
-the ThinkStation S20 and D20-also powered by the new Intel chips.
Rackable Systems March 20 announced the CloudRack C2
a server rack cabinet that offers a combination of processors from
Advanced Micro Devices and Intel, includuing Nehalem. Rackable
also is planning new servers based on the Nehalem EP chip.
Cisco Systems' Unified Computing System data center strategy includes new blade servers powered by Nehalem.
The launch of Nehalem EP-which is aimed at two-socket servers-is
part of a gradual rollout by Intel of the new architecture. Despite the
troubled global economy, some industry observers expect strong adoption
of systems sporting the new chip.
"People are still buying a lot of servers, and particularly
two-socket systems, which is really the sweet spot for the [server]
space," said Gordon Haff, an analyst with Illuminata.
Intel is promising greater performance as well as greater efficiency
in the new Nehalem microarchitecture, which should resonate during
these recessionary times. At an event with Dell March 25, Intel
officials pointed to enhanced virtualization capabilities within
Nehalem that will allow businesses to consolidate even more workloads
onto fewer physical servers, which will save them money on hardware and
software costs, power and cooling, and data center space.
Performance also will increase now that Intel is offering an
integrated memory controller, which will eliminate the front-side bus,
something that AMD has had in its Opteron chips since 2003.
Intel and AMD will continue to try to outdo each other in the
performance and efficiency departments as they roll out new products
AMD in November officially launched "Shanghai," the 45-nanometer
version of its quad-core Opteron chip that also emphasized greater
virtualization and efficiency features.
A new six-core Opteron
codenamed "Istanbul," is due out by the second half of 2009 and will be
aimed at the higher-end two- and four-socket server market.
Intel in September launched its own six-core Xeon processor
, dubbed "Dunnington," which is aimed at servers with four sockets or more.