IDF Spring 2006 Coverage: Day 1 (Continued)

I continue reporting from the IDF sessions. What is new on the mobility front? Merom processor, Santa Rosa platform, new Intel NAND Robson technology reducing the boot-up time. Also, I will touch upon some hot enterprise news: Truland, Bensley and the world’s first quad-core DP Clovertown demo, . And there is more to follow!

by Anna Filatova
03/08/2006 | 09:54 AM

Enterprise News

The next keynote speech devoted to the innovations in the enterprise segment was delivered by Pat Gelsinger, Intel Senior Vice President and General Manager of the Digital Enterprise Group. He started with the communication infrastructure. There have always been many technology battles. But in the communication area the conclusion is the same all the time: IP wins. TCPIP has won and will continue to win. Skype added 200,000 users per day. This is the first generation of services on top of IP.

 

The next one is IP TV. It is not just about delivering TV, but about all the services that go with it such as gaming, conferencing, etc. We have every right to state that we are observing a Moore’s law type growth of IP based services. In the future we will have everything over IP, and it is just a matter of time before it become this way.

What does it take to deliver all this? As IP applications spread more and more, so do the growth requirements and storage requirements. It is huge industry and a lot of diverse solutions are needed to satisfy the ever growing demand. Intel demonstrated an enterprise storage solution for small businesses that can offer up to 2TB of storage space with Intel low power Xscale technology.

Another great solution for IT environment is such capabilities as virtualization. VT enhanced hardware will bring virtualization to the mainstream. Intel has already begun shipping VT hardware and according to them, the response was huge. This year they delivered over 13 million of VT enabled CPUs, which gave them the reason to think of VT as a roadmap. And they have already begun putting this roadmap into life.

Intel also announced virtualization technology for directed I/O. It allows I/O devices to be assigned to virtual machines and thus increase robustness. The specifications are released and available today.

One more major announcement that we witnessed today was the announcement of collaboration between Intel and VMWare on virtualization. Intel first started talking about virtualization 7 years ago. According to Pat Gelsinger, their customers loved virtualization and anything Intel would do to make it more enhanced was welcomed very enthusiastically. People built virtual machines and share them to really feel the benefits of virtualization. In addition to complimentary virtualization projects Intel and VMWare were working on, they brought the marketing and sales teams together to educate their customers more efficiently.

Another collaboration worth mentioning here is the one between Intel and IBM. The major goal of this alliance is to extend x86 virtualization technology into I/O and storage devices using VT-D capabilities, so that customers could truly optimize their server investments. Intel today announced their intention to deliver LV Xeon processor for high-density data center computing.

Key platform for multi-processing consolidation is going to be Truland platform, which promises to be 15% faster:

Later they will also deliver Tulsa platform.

To demonstrate that the platforms discussed are ready to take off, Pat invited a colleague from Hewlett-Packard, who introduced the complete HP product line-up including workstations, ProLiant servers and Blade systems. He also demonstrated the power of dual-core with well-balanced system architecture on a Woodcrest dual-core dual-processor platform. It was running against a Sun system with AMD CPU inside and revealed 1.4x advantage

Another platform mentioned in the today’s presentation was the Bensley platform:

As you can see from the picture above I/OAT (I/O Acceleration Technology) is a part of Bensley platform. And today it was available for demonstration. We could see two systems running side by side with a 6Gbit channel. However, the Bensley platform with I/OAT utilized only 15% of the CPU resources, compared with 44% of CPU resources in case of a previous generation platform without I/O acceleration technology.

In conclusion I would like to offer you a screenshot of the world’s first Clovertown-MP live demo with two quad-core processors:

Mobile News

Sean Maloney, Intel Corporation Executive Vice President, started off saying that the way Internet changes – changes our lives and the way we work. The amount of data we request and receive is tremendous. Massive amount of new content is constantly being created. And personalized content is getting a bigger part of it. People put up their own clips and videos, pictures and stories. As a result, an enormous growth of internet traffic can be observed. But not only the amount of online content is growing, but so is the level of personalization of this content. People personalize their news streams, archives, etc. as a result, we now have such widely spread types of personalized data as RSS, tagging, AJAX, and mashups.

Take, for instance, the data base of American domestic flights mashed up with the well-known Google Earth database. These are open databases, so as a result, you can track out all delayed flights, and in some situations you may know more than a person behind the counter in the airport.

Personalization has always driven our industry. So it looks like now we are at the liftoff point for personal internet:

However, there is still a long way to go in terms of growing the opportunities for us and overcoming technical challenges.

The first problem preventing the personal internet from taking off is the fact that despite all the technological advancements and user education not so many people yet have broadband.

The second issue is the fact that internet isn’t yet mobile and personal internet has to be very mobile. So, taking into account the current state of things Intel has postulated three initiatives for the internet to go truly personal. Let’s discuss each of these initiatives in a bit more detail.

Personal Small Screen: Phones and UMPCs

The number one product here that has already started sampling is Monahans platform. It has been enhanced with some very advanced technologies which will give it the ability to sustain the improvement in performance and power consumption efficiency.

Although smart phone devices become more and more popular they have a challenge to deliver crisp experience throughout their entire life cycle. Internet is always under construction on both: hardware and software levels. So, with a PC system, there is no challenge really, as we can constantly download latest virus fixes, codec updates, scripts and extensions for Internet Explorer the moment we get online. Software is being refreshed on a daily basis and the PC has the advantage of being able to adapt to the new software without any hustle.

But what about static devices? These guys cannot be up-to-date. But they have one very significant advantage: they are small and portable. The problem with a PC is that it is too large to carry around. So, the challenge is to shrink the size of a PC to acceptable portable dimensions, but retain the real-time update capability.

Intel demonstrated a device like that:

This is the next step in PC mobility and the devices like small screen smart phones and ultra mobile PCs will be available from a number of companies in a relatively short period of time.

Personal Big Screen: Notebooks

From the diagram above you can clearly see how the processor performance and energy efficiency increase with the time. And we intend to keep the pace up with the introduction of the new Merom processor in H2 of this year. The performance per watt will increase even more in this case. But what will be so different in the upcoming Merom compared to the Yonah? Let’s take a look.

Yonah CPU will boast smart cache technology, which implies that two cores can in an intelligent way access the same cache. Unlike the conventional architecture, where each core has its own cache to access. Another feature of the advanced microprocessor design will be enhanced heat control. Digital thermal sensors enable aggressive system power management. Power control allows turning off the power inactive cache segments. Micro-logic areas inside the core can be switched off when they are not needed.

Merom features from be even more enhanced:

It will also have some new features, such as wide dynamic execution implying wider pipes, deeper buffers, instructions fusion, which I have already mentioned in my first IDF Coverage article. Merom is scheduled to come out in Spring 2006. But today already we could see a few Merom powered notebooks:

According to Intel’s mobile roadmap after that there should arrive the next major platform refresh aka Santa Rosa:

According to Intel, Santa Rosa platform should have a dramatically better microprocessor, faster Generation 4 graphics, IEEE 802.11n MIMO Wi-Fi, professional level manageability and security, Intel Media Share software and Intel NAND technology.

The idea behind NAND Robson technology is to reduce the precious booting time in half. We all know how important it is to have the mobile devices boot up rapidly and come back to life very fast from standby mode. This is what the NAND Robson technology looks like:

Intel performed a very illustrative demonstration of this technology in action so that we could really feel the difference. The system with NAND Robson technology loaded all standard office applications in 3.3 sec compared to 15 sec on a standard system. But faster boot-up is not all. Also wattage consumption is lower, because the applications respond faster thus saving power, which is important as we make these devices smaller and faster.

Personal Everywhere: Wi-Fi - WiMAX

People need improved connectivity. To meet the user requirements here Intel is moving towards standardization of 802.11n MIMO specification. They even demonstrated the first 802.11n MIMO chip:

Besides new improved connectivity, Intel and partners also continue to work on WiMAX to ensure that the signal quality also gets better. How are they doing that? Well, get an Intel Centrino laptop with integrated WiMAX. Now it is only 2MBits bandwidth, but in Korea they already have solutions with the bandwidth up to 16MBit. So, maybe very soon all of us will be able to enjoy a nice ride on an Intel WiMAX scooter powered with the latest technologies and offering a life video blog feed of the ride alongside with the main advantages of a fast internet connection, such as live weather reports, directions hints, etc?