Intel officials are aiming the new Xeon E7 v2 chips at the largest and most compute-intensive workloads, from data analytics and high-performance computing (HPC) to business intelligence, virtualization and databases. Bryant and other Intel executives said the new capabilities in the chips offer a strong argument for businesses to either upgrade their existing x86-based systems or make the move from RISC to the Intel architecture.
In a demonstration, Shannon Poulin, vice president and general manager of Intel Data Center Marketing Group, demonstrated how the new chips' greater in-memory capabilities enabled a system to process data more than 128 times faster than one powered by the previous Xeon E7 chips. In addition, Bryant noted that while the global RISC server market continues to contract—only 6 percent of servers with four or more sockets sold are RISC-based—those still make up more than 52 percent of revenues for that category.
In a four-socket system, the new Xeon E7 v2 chips offer an 80 percent increase in performance and an 80 percent improvement in total cost of ownership over four years than IBM's Power7 processor. As the need for computing goes up, Intel is enabling the cost of both server and storage technology to continue to decline, Bryant said. With the new chips, Intel can now boast performance leadership against IBM's Power chips or Oracle's SPARC portfolio.
At a workshop for journalists last month, Intel officials said that a key opportunity for the company will be in replacing older x86-based systems, particularly given the performance gains offered for such workloads as SAP HANA analytics deployments, where a four-socket system with the new Xeon E7 v2 chips can process twice the number of inquiries than a server with the previous generation. There is also a doubling in the number of Java business operations processed per second.
In all, more than 20 OEMs—ranging from IBM, Hewlett-Packard and Dell to Lenovo, SGI, Unisys and Cisco Systems—are offering more than 40 system designs based on the new processors, according to Bryant. Several partners and end users took the stage during the press conference to talk about how they are leveraging the new Xeon E7 v2 chips.
Chris O'Malley, CEO of VelociData, which offers an appliance based on HP servers that prepares data for analytics, talked about improvements in processing time of more than 1,000 times, while Moiz Kovari, vice president of the London Stock Exchange, said his organization leverages System x servers from IBM. Kovari spoke about the need for an end-to-end system design that can help bring greater computing capabilities to the stock exchange.
"We need denser platforms to really consolidate our data centers," he said.