Intel Aims Latest Xeon Server Chips at Evolving Data Centers - Page 2

A new mesh architecture replaces the ring architecture in previous Intel Xeons, bringing faster connections between the processor cores and other components on the chip. For scalability, the Xeon Scalable chips—which come in four groups—range up to 28 cores, which Shenoy said required a new architecture and other features.

Securing the data while at rest and in motion also was key, the officials said, pointing to such new Intel offerings as QuickAssist for hardware acceleration of cryptography and data compression and Key Protection for more protection against security key attacks.

Although just announced, Intel has shipped 500,000 of the chips to particular customers, including Google and AT&T, with both reporting performance gains in the various workloads they’re running. In addition, the chip maker introduced Intel Select Solutions, a program that includes hardware and ISV partners and that offers customers cloud reference platforms to accelerate the deployment of data center infrastructures. The first solutions include VMware vSAN 6.6, Microsoft SQL 16 and Canonical Ubuntu.

Mark Hung, research vice president at analyst firm Gartner, told eWEEK that the new chips will fortify Intel’s leadership in the server CPU space and will help the company address the new workloads.

In addition, the company bolstered its capabilities with programmable chips when it spent $16.7 billion two years ago for Altera, which built field-programmable gate arrays. Such chips are growing in importance in such workloads as AI and data analytics.

However, GPUs—like those from Nvidia and AMD—also are gaining ground with such tasks, Hung said.

“When you talk about CPU performance and programmable logic processors, they’re in good position,” he said. “On the GPU side, it’s a glaring hole for them. For machine learning and AI workloads, in the data center, it’s been dominated by GPUs.”

Intel officials expect to get stronger in the AI space. They’ve invested in numerous companies and bought Nervana Systems and MobileEye, and now have a business unit dedicated to AI. The Nervana technology will make its way into Intel products.

The key going forward for Intel will be to now execute on the strategy that it has put forward, Hung said.