Friday, March 09, 2012

#CHIPS: "Intel Courts Green Datacenters"

Intel’s first server processor designed exclusively for the "green" datacenters of the future features eight cores per chip, a supercomputer-on-a-chip architecture, and novel new turbo- and energy efficiency-modes.

With Facebook, Google, Apple, and IBM all touting their efforts to lower power consumption in the datacenter, Intel made special efforts to optimize its latest server processor, the Xeon E5, claiming a 70 percent boost in performance for the same power consumption. That translates to a 40 percent datacenter space reduction for the same number of connected users.

Intel's new Xeon E5 incorporates a number of innovations, which together achieve higher performance at the same energy consumption, but with a much smaller footprint in processors-per-rack in the datacenter. Citing forecasts of 15 billion connected devices for over three billion users by 2015, Intel's Xeon E5 was specifically designed to match the 33 percent growth rate for IP traffic and three-times boost in throughput to 4.8 zetabytes (trillion gigabytes or 4-Gbytes per person per day).

Intel's newest Xeon E5-2680 processor offers a 70 percent improvement in performance for the same power consumption.
To meet this demand for at least a three times increase in the number of datacenter servers over the next three years, Intel's Xeon E5 incorporates a raft of innovations including integrated Peripheral Component Interconnect Express (PCIe 3.0) for three-times more input-output (I/O) throughput, plus datacenter software support that allows 23 energy-efficiency parameters to be adjusted with its Node- and DataCenter-Manager.

Intel's innovations are not confined to energy efficiency, however, but also include a revamped "turbo" mode that trades off increased power consumption for higher performance. Under the control of the Node- and DataCenter-Manager software suites, one of the Xeon E5 eight cores can be switched into turbo mode where a boosted voltage and clock-rate increases performance for time-critical algorithms. To keep energy consumption in check, the increased energy consumption of the turbo core is compensated for by lowering the voltage and clock rate of the other seven cores on the E5.

The Xeon E5 also features enhanced vector processing for analytics and other compute-intensive tasks as well as improved hyper-threading and virtualization capabilities for dynamic infrastructure tuning, as well as LAN-on-motherboard technology for integrated support for 10Gbit Ethernet.

Security got a boost too by the Xeon E5's Advanced Encryption Standard New Instruction that speeds encryption and decryption tasks for both transactions and applications using Intel's Trusted Execution Technology (TXT) which automatically validates users accessing datacenter resources.

Server manufacturers already committed to releasing systems using the Xeon E5 include Acer, Appro, Asus, Bull, Cisco, Dell, Fujitsu, HP, Hitachi, Huawei, IBM, Inspur, Lenovo, NEC, Oracle, Quanta, SGI, Sugon, Supermicro and Unisys.