Intel moved further into the data center space with its next-generation processors targeting cloud and communications service providers and enterprises. The company says the new chips are 1.65 times faster than its previous generation.
At an event today in New York, Intel launched its Xeon Scalable processors. They’re designed to support data center and networking workloads including cloud computing, artificial intelligence (AI), and 5G.
Lisa Spelman, vice president of Intel’s data center group, said the platform can support up to 4.2 times more virtual machines and up to five times more transactions per second than four-year-old systems. The processors also have more storage capabilities, delivering up to five times more operations at up to 70 percent lower latency, she added.
In what Spelman called the company’s “most ambitious” early ship program ever, Intel sold more than 500,000 processors to over 30 customers starting last November. These customers include AT&T, Google, Cisco, and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
AT&T, Google Using Intel Processors
AT&T is already running production traffic on the platform and has seen about a 30 percent performance improvement compared to Intel’s earlier processors, said John Donovan, chief strategy officer and group president of AT&T technology and operations.
“For us that matters because of total cost of ownership: we’re looking at about a 25 percent real improvement,” he said at the event, adding that the platform’s networking capabilities will further drive software-defined networking (SDN) and 5G across the telecom industry.
Meanwhile, Bart Sano, Google’s VP of platforms, said Google customers using the Google Compute Platform running on the new processors have seen up to a 40 percent improvement in performance, compared to earlier platforms. And for those customers using the integrated AVX-512 instructions — these are designed to accelerate performance for compute-intensive workloads like AI and 3D modeling — some have seen more than 100 percent performance improvements, Sano said.
The processors include new security features that better protect data, Spelman said. This includes the Intel Key Protection technology, which protects keys from software attacks. Spelman described it as a “hardware lockbox for encryption keys” and said it has a less than 1 percent impact on performance when encryption is turned on.
Intel Select Solutions
Also at the event, Intel announced its new Select Solutions — packaged hardware and software systems built on the new processors. The first three are for VMware Virtual SAN, Microsoft SQL Server, and Ubuntu NFVi deployments.
In an email, analyst Patrick Moorhead, president of Moor Insights & Strategy, said the new platform expands Intel’s data center efforts.
“It is important to note that Intel is bringing more than a CPU [central processing unit] to these markets — they are bringing CPUs plus chipsets, accelerators (ie FPGA, QuickAssist, AVX-512), Optane SSD, busses (ie OmniPath) and optimized software (ie DPDK) required for workload-optimization,” he said. “Intel is even bringing near-engineered solutions to the table with Select Solutions, an indication that it is moving up the food chain and also enabling a much larger market-basket. By increasing the market basket with workload-optimized technologies and Select Solutions, I see growth potential for the company in spaces they haven’t historically achieved high degrees of market share while defending their CPU turf.”