With New Xeon Chips, Intel Addresses the Brawny Data Center

The Intel Xeon E5 2600 v2 processor, which became available Tuesday.

The Intel Xeon E5 2600 v2 processor, which became available Tuesday.

After addressing the growing market for optimized low-power workloads last week with the Atom C2000 processor, Intel turned to to the brawny side of the data center Tuesday with the launch of the Xeon E5-2600 v2 product family, formerly code named Ivy Bridge-EP.

As a part of its journey to re-architect the data center, Intel says the new Xeon processors will provide a versatile solution for server, storage and networking workloads, and rapid delivery of data center services.

Based on Intel’s 22-nanometer process technology, the E5-2600 v2 family features up to 12 cores, improves efficiency up to 45 percent over earlier Xeons, and delivers up to 50 percent more performance across a variety of compute intensive workloads.

Unveiled at IDF

Intel announced the Xeon E5-2600 v2 processor at its annual developer forum, IDF 2013, in San Francisco Tuesday. Following Intel’s software-defined infrastructure theme, the new Xeon processors provide a common, software compatible processing foundation and possess the features and tools to help transform data centers for the future.

The new Xeon processors use less power when they are idle, a key factor in reducing energy usage, and support Intel Node Manager and Intel Data Center Manager software, which provide granular detail on power usage.

“More than ever, organizations are looking to information technology to transform their businesses,” said Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the Datacenter and Connected Systems Group at Intel. “Offering new cloud-based services requires an infrastructure that is versatile enough to support the diverse workloads and is flexible enough to respond to changes in resource demand across servers, storage and network.”

Intel Inside The Amazon Cloud

To showcase the cloud capabilities of the new processors, Intel and Amazon Web Services (AWS) announced a new agreement to use the “Intel Inside” brand on Amazon cloud clusters, letting AWS customers know that the services it provides are using Intel technologies.

Amazon and Intel have co-presented numerous sessions and product briefings on cloud, big data and HPC. AWS instances that exclusively use Intel Xeon processors – intended for basic to performance-intensive use cases – will now display the Intel brand. AWS is also adding the latest Xeon processor family to its data centers, with services available for customers later this year.

Further support for Intel’s Xeon processor E5 family-based platforms will be shown from vendors such as Apple, Acer, Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Hitachi, Oracle, Quanta, SGI, Supermicro and others. IBM introduced its NeXtScale Server platform Tuesday, combining high-density and improved power efficiency – featuring Xeon E5-2600 v2 processors.

The Xeon E5-2600 v2 is also featured in the current number one supercomputer in the world – the Milkyway-2, along with Xeon Phi coprocessors.

Looking Beyond the Server

While Intel chips are known for powering servers, the company’s new product rollouts have reflected its growing focus on networking and storage technologies.

The new XE5-2600 v2 product family accelerates efficient processing of network workloads commonly handled by proprietary offload engines and accelerators found in networking appliances. Using Intel’s Open Network Platform (ONP) server reference design, customers can use high-volume Xeon-based servers and industry open standards to consolidate virtualized networking applications. This allows customers to deliver throughput performance and latency for Software Defined Networking (SDN) and Network Function Virtualization (NFV) workloads.

Intel also announced Intel Network Builders ecosystem, a program that allows partners to take advantage of Intel’s reference architecture platforms to accelerate SDN and NFV deployments.

“Organizations are looking for more open, industry standard technology to support complex IT demands, whether they are cloud based-applications, support for virtualized environments or for replacing expensive appliances, such as firewalls, VPNs, and edge routers,” said Werner Schaefer, vice president of Market and Business Development, HP Servers. “These reference designs with innovative HP ProLiant Gen8 Servers and HP Networking solutions allow customers to consolidate networking workloads, reduce deployment costs and shorten provisioning time.”

On the storage front the new Xeon E5-2600 v2 processors enhance data reliability and enable in-line deduplication for up to 2.2 times hashing algorithm performance and a 3.5 times  I/O bandwidth improvement. Dell has selected the new processors for its upcoming storage solution. “The Intel Xeon processor E5 v2 family provides a great hardware base for Dell’s high performance, innovative solutions like our PowerEdge VRTX and intelligent tiered Compellent storage solutions,” said Forrest Norrod, vice president and general manager of Dell Server Solutions.

The Intel Developer Forum 2013 conversation can be followed on Twitter hashtag #IDF2013.

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About the Author

John Rath is a veteran IT professional and regular contributor at Data Center Knowledge. He has served many roles in the data center, including support, system administration, web development and facility management.

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