As the growth of information technology services places increasing demand on the data centre, Intel has outlined its strategy to re-architect the underlying infrastructure, allowing companies and end-users to benefit from an increasingly services-oriented, mobile world.
Intel also announced additional details about its next-generation Intel Atom processor C2000 product family (codenamed ‚”Avoton‚” and ‚”Rangeley‚”), as well as outlined its roadmap of next-generation 14nm products for 2014 and beyond. This robust pipeline of current and future products and technologies will allow Intel to expand into new segments of the data centre that look to transition from proprietary designs to more open, standards-based compute models.
‚”Data centres are entering a new era of rapid service delivery,‚” said Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the Datacenter and Connected Systems Group at Intel. ‚”Across network, storage and servers we continue to see significant opportunities for growth. In many cases, it requires a new approach to deliver the scale and efficiency required, and today we are unveiling the near and long-term actions to enable this transformation.‚”
As more mobile devices connect to the Internet, cloud-based software and applications get smarter by learning from the billions of people and machines using it, thus resulting in a new era of context-rich experiences and services. It also results in a massive amount of network connections and a continuous stream of real-time, unstructured data. New challenges for networks, computing and storage are emerging as the growing volume of data is transported, collected, aggregated and analyzed in data centres. As a result, data centre smust be more agile and service-driven than ever before, and easier to manage and operate.
The role of information technology has evolved from being a way to reduce costs and increase corporate productivity to becoming the means to deliver new services to businesses and consumers. For example, Disney* recently started providing visitors with wirelessly connected-wristbands to enhance customers’ in-park experience through real-time data analytics. Additionally, a smart traffic safety program from Bocom in China seeks to identify traffic patterns in a city of ten million people and intelligently offers better routing options for vehicles on the road.
‚’Re-Architecting’ Network, Storage and Servers
To help companies prepare for the next generation of data centres, Intel revealed its plans to virtualise the network, enable smart storage solutions and invest in innovative rack optimized architectures.
Bryant highlighted Intel’s Rack Scale Architecture (RSA), an advanced design that promises to dramatically increase the utilization and flexibility of the data centre to deliver new services. Rackspace Hosting, an open cloud company, has announced the deployment of new server racks that is a step toward reaching Intel’s RSA vision, powered by Intel Xeon processors and Intel Ethernet controllers with storage accelerated by Intel Solid State Drives. The Rackspace design is the first commercial rack scale implementation.
The networking industry is on the verge of a transition similar to what the server segment experienced years ago. Equipping the network with open, general purpose processing capabilities provides a way to maximize network bandwidth, significantly reduce cost and provide the flexibility to offer new services. For example, with a virtualized software defined network, the time to provision a new service can be reduced to just minutes from two to three weeks with traditional networks. Intel introduced Open Network Platform reference designs to help OEMs build and deploy this new generation of networks.
Data growth is a challenge to all data centre and transferring this large volume of data for processing within a traditional, rigid storage architecture is costly and time consuming. By implementing intelligent storage technologies and tools, Intel is helping to reduce the amount of data that needs to be stored, and is improving how data is used for new services.
Traditional servers are also evolving. To meet the diverse needs of data centre operators who deploy everything from compute intensive database applications to consumer facing Web services that benefit from smaller, more energy-efficient processing, Intel outlined its plan to optimize workloads, including customized CPU and SoC configurations.
As part of its strategy, Intel revealed new details for the forthcoming Intel Atom processors C2000 product family aimed for low-energy, high-density microservers and storage (codenamed ‚”Avoton‚”), and network devices (codenamed ‚”Rangeley‚”). This second generation of Intel’s 64-bit SoCs is expected to become available later this year and will be based on the company’s 22nm process technology and the innovative Silvermont microarchitecture. It will feature up to eight cores with integrated Ethernet and support for up to 64GB of memory.
The new products are expected to deliver up to four times the energy efficiency and up to seven times more performance than the first generation Intel Atom processor-based server SoCs introduced in December last year. Intel has been sampling the new Intel Atom processor server product family to customers since April and has already more than doubled the number of system designs compared to the previous generation.
Roadmap for Expansion
The move to services-oriented data centres presents considerable opportunities for Intel to expand into new segments. To help bolster the underlying technologies that power much of the next generation of data centres, Intel outlined its roadmap of next-generation products based on its forthcoming 14nm process technology scheduled for 2014 and beyond. These products are aimed at micro-servers, storage and network devices and will offer an even broader set of low-power, high-density solutions for their Web-scale applications and services.
The future products include the next generation of Intel Xeon processors E3 family (codenamed ‚”Broadwell‚”) built for processor and graphic-centric workloads such as online gaming and media transcoding. It also includes the next generation of Intel Atom processor SoCs (codenamed ‚”Denverton‚”) that will enable even higher density deployments for data centre operators. Intel also disclosed an addition to its future roadmap a new SoC designed from the ground up for the data centre based on Intel’s next-generation Broadwell microarchitecture that follows the Haswell microarchitecture. This SoC will offer higher levels of performance in high density, extreme energy efficient systems that data centre operators will expect in this increasingly services-oriented, mobile world.