Intel Unveils Xeon E5 'Grantley' for Broad Range of Server Workloads
Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights and Strategy, said Intel is "doing what they have to do to maintain [its massive market share], which is a good thing." He noted that data centers now tend to fall into either the scale-up or scale-out categories, or fall somewhere in between, such as with hybrid clouds. "Grantley fits into all of these," Moorhead told eWEEK. "I think enterprises are ready." Intel doesn't yet have much in the way of competition in the server space. Advanced Micro Devices earlier this year launched new 12- and 16-core Opterons for such workloads as traditional databases and data analytics, and is looking to its upcoming ARM-based Opteron 1100A "Seattle" chips to help it gain traction in smaller, dense microservers. For its part, ARM officials expect to see systems-on-a-chip (SoCs) from such partners as AMD, Applied Micro, Marvell Technologies and Cavium gather momentum going into 2015 now that they have access to ARM's 64-bit ARMv8-A architecture. Intel is covering the entire range of server workloads, from its low-power Atom platform for smaller, dense microservers through to the many-core Xeon Phi processors for the HPC field.For example, in the networking realm, Intel at IDF will announce its Open Network Platform Server, a reference architecture for software-defined networking (SDN) and network-functions virtualization (NFV) that not only will feature the Xeon E5-2600 v3 processor, but also Intel's new "Fortville" Ethernet Controller XL 710 and QuickAssist Adapter 8950 on the hardware side, and such Intel software as its Data Plane Developer Kit (DPDK) set of libraries and drivers, QuickAssist Technology drivers, 10 Gigabit Ethernet and 40GbE drivers, and Service Assurance Administrator. It also will include optimization for the OpenDaylight SDN controller and OpenStack orchestration technology, and will support Fedora 20 KVM. The new chips also will offer improved power management capabilities. The current "Romley" processors based on the "Ivy Bridge" architecture offered the same "P-states" for all cores, while Grantley will include Per-Core P-states (PCPS), which will enable each individual core to run at its own frequency and voltage. There also is Energy Efficient Turbo Mode, which monitors the individual cores and increase the core frequency only if it is energy-efficient. The use of DDR4 memory also will help drive down power consumption by 20 to 40 percent while offer twice the bandwidth of DDR3, J.S. Choi, senior manager of memory product planning for Samsung Semiconductor, said during the workshop. Other capabilities in Grantley include Cache Allocation Monitoring for better decisions around virtualization workload scheduling and migration, Advanced Vector Extensions (AVX) 2.0 instruction sets for improved performance for computationally intensive workloads, and an Integrated Voltage Regulator for more refined management of chip voltage and frequency.
However, Intel is challenged by the new workloads running the data center, and is looking to the strength of its expanded capabilities—from software and chipsets to reference designs and specialty processors for such tasks as communications—to help it meet the demands raised by those workloads.