Intel Aims to "Re-Architect" Datacenters to Meet Demand for New Services

Intel Reveals New Server Roadmap

by Anton Shilov
07/22/2013 | 05:44 PM

As the massive growth of information technology services places increasing demand on the datacenter, Intel Corp. on Monday outlined its strategy to re-architect the underlying infrastructure, allowing companies and end-users to benefit from an increasingly services-oriented, mobile world.

 

"Datacenters are entering a new era of rapid service delivery. 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," said Diane Bryant, senior vice president and general manager of the datacenter and connected systems group at Intel.

'Re-Architecting' Network, Storage and Servers

Mr. Bryant highlighted Intel's rack scale architecture (RSA), an advanced design that promises to dramatically increase the utilization and flexibility of the datacenter to deliver new services. Rackspace Hosting, an open cloud company, today 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 datacenters 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 datacenter 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 datacenters presents considerable opportunities for Intel to expand into new segments. To help bolster the underlying technologies that power much of the next generation of datacenters, 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 microservers, 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 datacenter operators. Intel also disclosed an addition to its future roadmap – a new SoC designed from the ground up for the datacenter based on Intel's next-generation Broadwell microarchitecture that follows today's industry leading Haswell microarchitecture. This SoC will offer higher levels of performance in high density, extreme energy efficient systems that datacenter operators will expect in this increasingly services-oriented, mobile world.