Intel executives unveiled their much-anticipated family of Xeon E5-2600 processors for servers designed to handle the demands brought on by the rapid growth of such technologies as virtualization and cloud computing in the data center.
At a Webcast event in San Francisco March 6, Dianne Bryant, vice president and general manager of Intels Datacenter and Connected Systems Group, outlined the advances offered in the new chip line that she said will deliver 80 percent more performance and more than 50 percent better energy efficiency than the previous Xeon 5600 chips, as well as improved networking and security features.
The Xeon E5-2600 chips, which offer up to eight cores, will enable data centers to handle a world where there will be more than 3 billion Internet users with more than 15 billion connected devices by 2015, per numbers compiled by Cisco Systems. And all those users and devices will be connected via servers in data centers, whether theyre cloud environments, telecommunications companies or data centers, Bryant said.
Using the Xeon E5 chips gives us the performance we need, the scalability we need, the I/O throughput and ¦ the security, she told reporters and analysts at the event.
Systems makers seemed to agree, with such major players as IBM, Hewlett-Packard, Dell, SGI and Hitachi all unveiling new and upgraded products leveraging the Intel technology. HP officials introduced the enhanced systems in February, rolling out the ProLiant Generation 8 systems that included the upgraded SL230s and 250s Gen8 systems.
Dell on March 6 introduced its twelfth generation of PowerEdge servers, including the R820, R720, R720xd and R620 rack systems, M620 blade, T620 tower and C6220 shared infrastructure server based on the Xeon E5.
Our customers told us that they need end-to-end solutions to handle the complex workload problems they face every day, Brad Anderson, president of Dells Enterprise Solutions Group, said in a statement. As such, we built our new generation of servers, systems management and workload solutions to address the needs of business end users who require maximum performance to run mission-critical applications and IT departments which demand more efficient, secure and reliable operations.
IBM executives also used the Xeon E5-2600 launch to roll out new x86-based servers aimed at giving users more capabilities in cloud environments and in analytics. Included in the March 6 rollout was a new version of the companys BladeCenter Foundation for Cloud, an integrated offering that includes server, storage, networking and virtualization capabilities and built-in management software. The solution is powered by the latest generation of IBMs BladeCenter HS23, which offers 62 percent more compute power than previous generations and comes with an integrated 10 Gigabit Ethernet Virtual Fabric technology, which enables businesses to run 20 percent more virtual machines.
"IBM is delivering easy-to-deploy cloud and analytics products to help clients align their businesses to manage unprecedented amounts of data and become much more efficient at turning that information into timely business insights, Adalio Sanchez, general manager of IBMs System x business, said in a statement.
According to Charles King, principal analyst for Pund-IT Research, IBMs newest System x servers take full advantage of the innovations in Intels Xeon E5 chips.
The result is a processor built for the rigors of the modern data center, and IBM is taking that to the bank, particularly in areas such as cloud computing and analytics, King told eWEEK. Both practice areas will benefit from the combination of raw system, storage and network performance offered by Intels Xeon E5-2600, but solutions designed for high-density cloud computing environments must deliver world-class power efficiency, as well. Overall, the new System x, BladeCenter and iDataplex solutions look like solid additions to IBMs already formidable array Intel-based systems.
Intels Bryant noted the innovations the chip giant put into the Xeon E5-2600 processors that touch on everything from I/O to security to energy efficiency, saying that a key goal was a balanced approach that touched not only servers but also networking and storage. The new chips offer an integrated I/O controller that supports PCI Express 3.0 that Intel officials say will triple the speed of data into and out of the chip. In addition, 10GbE also is supported on the motherboard. Intel also introduced the Ethernet Controller X540.
Regarding security, the Xeon E5-2600 also leverages Intels Advanced Encryption Standard New Instruction (AES-NI) to more quickly encrypt and decrypt data, and Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) to help minimize the threat of malicious attacks. Intel bought security software vendor McAfee last year to enable it to build more software capabilities into the hardware, which Bryant said strengthens the security in the chips. The greater adoption of mobile computing and cloud computing increases the threat of attacks, she said.
The solution is to bring security closer and closer to the hardware, she said.
Intels Turbo Boost Technology 2.0 enables systems to boost the performance of single cores by as much as 900MHz when needed, while the companys Node Manager and Data Center Manager features give users accurate and real-time information about data and power use.
Senior Editor Darryl K. Taft contributed to this article.