Dell, Lenovo Among OEMs Launching Intel 'Grantley'-Based Servers

HP and Cisco already have unveiled refreshed systems that also bring greater levels of efficiency, performance and flexibility.


Dell, Hewlett-Packard, Lenovo and Cisco Systems are among the OEMs that will be rolling out new systems Sept. 8 when Intel officials introduce the latest generation of its mainstream Xeon E5-2600 server chips.

Intel will be officially unveiling the new processors—which officials said will offer significant improvements in performance and power efficiency—at a press event the day before its Intel Developer Forum (IDF) in San Francisco. A broad range of system makers are expected to be on hand at the event in San Francisco to talk about their servers that will leverage the new chips.

At the same time, the OEMs will unveil other enhancements beyond the processor upgrade—in such areas as power and cooling management—designed to make their systems better able to address the changing demands being put on data center infrastructures by such trends as mobile computing, big data and the cloud. In addition, they want to take advantage of the optimization Intel is offering in the Xeon E5-2600 v3 "Grantley" processors in areas in the data center beyond the servers.

"They're using this as an opportunity to not only completely refresh their server systems, but also their storage and networking," Patrick Moorhead, principal analyst with Moor Insights and Strategy, told eWEEK.

Bringing innovative technologies to the systems will be important not only as workloads change, but also as competition from white-box makers increase. Gartner analysts in a Sept. 3 report said that server original design manufacturers (ODMs) are now directly courting enterprises and organizations that run hyperscale data centers, and as a result, sales of servers by ODMs directly to customers will represent 16 percent of global x86 server shipments by 2018 and will generate $4.6 billion in revenue.

"ODM companies are rapidly changing their business model, as they are directly targeting hyperscale customers," Naveen Mishra, research director at Gartner, said in a statement. "These companies are expanding their business scope to also include enterprises in the near term. These customers are willing to consider innovative [data center] infrastructure designs that can offer better scalability and can drastically reduce the total cost of ownership of servers (including power and cooling expense) compared with mainstream servers offered by traditional server OEMs."

The new Grantley chips will be based on Intel's "Haswell" architecture, and will offer such features as DDR4 memory—which will bring faster speeds, more bandwidth and greater energy efficiency—as many as 18 cores, and technologies that will improve virtualization support, power efficiency and management, increase performance, and help expand the Intel Architecture into networking and storage.

Officials with HP and Cisco already have given the industry some indication of what they are doing with the servers that will be powered by the new Intel chips. In a Webcast event Aug. 28, company executives introduced HP's upcoming ninth-generation ProLiant servers that they said will offer three times the compute capacity of previous ProLiants, greater efficiency in processing multiple workloads, infrastructure provisioning that is 66 times faster and better total cost of ownership (TCO).

The ProLiant Gen 9 servers will bring three times the performance-per-watt capabilities of previous generations, require 60 percent less space and lower storage acquisition costs by 80 percent, officials said. In addition, in combination with HP's storage, memory and networking capabilities, workload performance of business-critical applications will be improved by four times, according to the company.