Intel Unveils New Xeon Chips for More Dynamic Data Center

The Xeon E5-2600 v2 lineup includes almost two-dozen chips for not only servers but also storage and networking systems.

SAN FRANCISCO—Intel executives a week ago unveiled the company’s Atom C2000 “Avoton” family of processors that included 13 different models tweaked to handle varying workloads, a nod to the growing demand in data centers for components optimized for particular tasks.

At the Intel Developer Forum here Sept. 10, the company announced the latest generation of its Xeon E5-2600 server chips which includes 21 different products that can address not only server workloads, but also storage and networking jobs and can address everything from cloud computing to high-performance computing demands.

The 22-nanometer E5-2600 v2 “Ivy Bridge” processors come one year after Intel launched the first-generation “Sandy Bridge” E5-2600 chips, and offer as much as 50 percent better performance and 45 percent greater energy efficiency than their predecessors, Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of Intel’s Datacenter and Connected Systems Group, told analysts and journalists at the show.

The chips offer up to 12 cores with speeds of between 1.7GHz and 3.5GHz.

Systems makers like IBM, Cisco Systems, Cray, Lenovo and SGI announced plans for new servers based on the Ivy Bridge chips, while Hewlett-Packard at an event in New York City showed off a revamped Z portfolio of workstations that will be powered by the new processors.

The new chips continue what has been a busy few months for Intel’s data center unit, though much of the past efforts have focused on the Atom C2000 systems-on-a-chip (SoC), which are aimed at small systems running lightweight workloads. However, Bryant’s message for the new Xeons echo what she has said about the new Atom processors: that demands in the data center are rapidly changing, and that component makers must adapt their products to meet those demands.

Driving the changes are the rise of cloud computing and the rapid increase in the number of connected devices in the hands of consumers and business users alike. Businesses want to spin out cloud services as quickly as possible, and the infrastructure must be able to handle the data storage and networking demands the billions of connected devices place on it. Greater automation, flexibility and scalability are crucial, Bryant said.

The Xeon E5-2600 v2 chips are designed to provide the flexibility data center infrastructures need to deal with the variety of workloads in the data center, she said. The different chips in the family have varying features such as core counts, frequencies and accelerators that enable them to address different applications.